18th March 2017, 20:36 | StHelens

Saints leave it late to beat Catalans

Saints leave it late to beat Catalans

Catalans Dragons 24-28 St Helens

St Helens eased the pressure on coach Keiron Cunningham by digging deep to beat Catalans Dragons 28-24 in Perpignan.

After opening their 2017 Betfred Super League campaign with a narrow win over Leeds Rhinos, three straight defeats had left Saints at the wrong end of the table.

But Cunningham's men displayed their character as they edged past the Dragons to make it three matches without a victory for the French side.

Adam Swift's try inside two minutes set the tone for an entertaining first half that finished with St Helens leading 22-18.

Thomas Bosc and Julian Bousquet scored either side of Mark Percival's effort before Adam Walker and Iain Thornley traded tries in the final 10 minutes of the half.

A converted Paul Aiton try in the early stages of the second period edged the Dragons ahead but Jack Owens' late finish from Theo Fages' classy offload gave Saints a much-needed win.

Cunningham said: "The effort was outstanding. I thought we were the better team tonight and if we had not won the game, I think that would have been undeserved.

"We had plenty of opportunities, we took some and wasted a few and I'm glad we saw the game through in the end. It was a true gritty performance from us.

"We knew it was going to be tough. It has not been a happy hunting ground for us over here in France over the past few years. We had a lot stacked up against us with a couple of losses in recent weeks and I'm proud of what the players did and I really think they deserved the win.”

Dragons coach Laurent Frayssinous said: "It's disappointing to see us lose a game like we did today.

"We wanted to fix our defence in the second half and we managed to fix it. But we need to be better in the first half - we allowed them too many opportunities in the first half and that's not good enough. We need to be better defensively for 80 minutes.

"I thought our combinations were pretty good in attack. We scored some tries on the back of their (Luke Walsh and Richie Myler) combos in the middle and we created more opportunities to score tries and that is pleasing for us."