Forwards need to be strong - Webster

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18th July 2014

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats coach James Webster knows his forwards must stand up to a physical onslaught if they are to maintain their unbeaten run and push for a place in the First Utility Super League play-offs.

The Wildcats face arguably their toughest assignment since Webster succeeded Richard Agar six weeks ago when they take on Catalan Dragons in the south of France tomorrow afternoon.

It is their first away game under Webster, who enjoyed the luxury of starting his rein as head coach with five consecutive home matches which produced four wins and a draw to banish their relegation fears.

The Catalans are notoriously difficult to beat in Perpignan, although reigning champions Wigan Warriors withstood a battering to triumph 37-16 at Stade Gilbert Brutus on Saturday.

Vincent Duport and Benjamin Garcia were sin-binned for their part in an ugly clash while Duport and Gregory Mounis were subsequently banned by the Rugby Football League's disciplinary panel.

"I was glad I wasn't playing in that game," Webster said. "They're a physical team, always have been, always will be.

"There were a couple of things that were borderline silly but there were some things I thought were really good by them.

"They've got a massive forward pack and they like to throw their weight around so we're going to have to be really good to compete."

Webster, who expects to have his skipper Danny Kirmond back from injury, knows all about the bulk of the Dragons players, having been assistant to France national coach Agar for the 2013 World Cup and he is currently considering an option to continue in the role.

He has signed the Catalans' international prop Mickael Simon for next season and has not ruled out using his French contacts to bring more players from the country to Wakefield.

"Mickael is a great kid," Webster said. "He's probably been under-played for a long period of time by the Catalans. He did a really good job in the World Cup against some really strong sides. I saw enough in him to know he's going to be asset to the club.

"I've had plenty of people offered to me from France this year. I spent six to eight weeks there for the World Cup and I've got a good understanding of the top 40 or 45 players in France.

"The French market should be utilised more in the coming years. I think they've got some decent young kids coming through there."

The Dragons still have some work to do to secure a top-eight finish while the Wildcats are now looking upwards after securing their top-flight status for 2015 with seven games to spare.

"I'd have bitten your hand off at the start of the year to be in this position now," Webster admitted.

"I'm happy that we can now just worry about the last seven games and nothing else."

The late-season revival of both Wakefield and Salford Red Devils confirmed the inevitable for London Broncos, who host St Helens tomorrow afternoon knowing they will be in the Kingstone Press Championship next year.

The demise of the Broncos, who have lost all 20 matches so far this season, was no surprise given their disrupted start to the campaign but Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, who left London to join St Helens four years ago, expects them to bounce back.

"It was really disappointing to see them go down," said McCarthy-Scarsbrook, who spent the first six years of his professional career at the club. "When I saw they had, my heart sank a little bit.

"They have a lot of youngsters coming through and they will be blooded throughout next season. Perhaps it was a little too early for them this year.

"They have set out their intent by bringing in some old heads to help those youngsters and hopefully that intent is to bounce straight back up and not stay in the Championship.

"One thing I know about London - and I've told the lads here - is that they are a team that never gives up.

"We ran away with the game at Langtree Park and they kept coming. If you go there expecting to win then we will have a tricky time."

Forwards need to be strong - Webster 2013.superleague.co.uk
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