Robinson: We will cope without Ferriol
Catalan coach Trent Robinson admits the Dragons will lose some of their fire in the absence of seasoned prop David Ferriol but remains confident they have the arsenal to overcome defending champions Wigan Warriors.
The fiery France international has been the cornerstone of a big and physical Catalan pack for the last five years and was in the side that beat Wigan home and away in Engage Super League this year.
But the 32-year-old will sit out Sunday’s second preliminary semi-final at the DW Stadium after picking up a one-match ban for illegal use of the knees during last Saturday’s opening 56-6 play-off win over Hull KR.
“David plays that way,” Robinson said. “He’s an intimidating prop and a hard man and he’s paid the consequences.
“It takes a bit of fire out of our game but the guy who comes in needs to bring that.”
Robinson has front rower Michael Simon and back rower Cyril Gossard available to help plug the gap while the versatile Setaimata Sa has recovered from the knee injury that forced him to miss the win over Rovers.
Sa has played at centre and stand-off this season but is equally at home in the back row and the combative Jean-Philippe Baile proved to be a useful three-quarter replacement in the win over Hull KR.
Ferriol and Australian centre Ben Farrar are now the Dragons’ only absentees after stand-off Thomas Bosc and winger Cyril Stacul recently ended their long injury lay-offs and Robinson is happy with the way his team is shaping up at the business end of the season.
“Physically we’re in good shape,” he said. “David Ferriol is a loss for us but we’ve had this all year and I think we’ve overcome that quite well.
“We’re more than just 17 guys now. I think we’ve got the guys capable of getting the job done.”
Wigan coach Michael Maguire is taking little comfort from the absence of Ferriol as the champions look to bounce back from Sunday’s 26-18 home by St Helens.
“He’s been a big part of what they’ve been doing but they’ve got capable people to put in there,” he said.
Wigan are without Australian prop Ben Cross, who complained of soreness in the forearm he broke last month when making his comeback in the defeat by St Helens.
Lee Mossop, who dislocated his shoulder in the Carnegie Challenge Cup final at Wembley, is set to take the place of Cross, although Maguire has added utility forward Chris Tuson to his squad.