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Catalan 22 Wigan 8

Catalan Dragons are safe in the play-offs for this season after they ensured Wigan Warriors will head to Wembley smarting from a defeat.
Catalan 22 Wigan 8

Catalan Dragons are safe in the play-offs for this season after they ensured Wigan Warriors will head to Wembley smarting from a defeat.

The Perpignan side knew a win would put them eight points clear of Bradford with the Bulls having just three games to play and, with their mission complete, it is now a three-way fight for the last play-off spot between the West Yorkshire club and the two Hull teams.

None of that will be of concern to either of these sides, though, with Wigan heading to the capital to meet Hull FC in a week in the Challenge Cup Final, knowing their chances of finishing top of the table are now over.

Huddersfield Giants are the favourites for that honour after a win over London Broncos and only Warrington Wolves can catch them as a consequence of this result, meaning Wigan must focus on their date with Hull and then forging a route through the play-offs if they want to get to Old Trafford for the Grand Final.

The trip did at least yield an appearance from star man Sam Tomkins, however.

Naming Tomkins in his side after an injury-hit summer gave coach Shaun Wane a great pre-match fillip, but the free-flowing full-back was unable to contribute too much in a stop-start opening period.

Wigan had plenty of the ball but constantly put it down and were made to pay as Catalan cashed in with 17 minutes gone, Freddie Vaccari crashing over for a score that was approved by the video referee.

Thomas Bosc converted but the home side started to invite pressure with a series of errors, which allowed Wigan to set-up camp in their half.

Brent Webb's drop of a high kick under his own posts would not be punished, though, and it took a drinks break in the searing heat for Wigan to regroup.

Josh Charnley was denied by the video referee but, after three sets did not yield a try, Scott Taylor took the direct route on the stroke of the half-time hooter and smashed his way over, with Pat Richards converting.

A cagey opening to the second half saw the two sides trade penalties through Bosc and Richards, but Catalan eventually got a hold on proceedings and pulled clear.

Bosc split the posts with two more penalties to open a four-point gap and then 39-year-old Steve Menzies pushed his way over in his farewell season.

Wigan were without response and Eloi Pelissier put them further out of sight with a try Bosc upgraded, while it took a fine saving tackle from Richards to deny a rampaging Webb.

Catalan Dragons 22
Tries: Frederic Vaccari, Steve Menzies, Eloi Pelissier
Goals: Thomas Bosc 5

Wigan Warriors 8
Tries: Scott Taylor
Goals: Pat Richards 2

Date: Saturday 17th August 2013
Venue: Stade Gilbert Brutus
Attendance: 8,968
Official: B Thaler
Half Time: 6-all

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