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Page last updated at 15:20 GMT, Sunday, 5 April 2009 16:20 UK

Catalans Dragons 40-38 Bradford

Catalans (0) 40
Tries: Elima 2, Greenshields, Bosc 2, Gossard, BaileGoals: Bosc 6

Bradford (20) 32
Tries: Sykes, Sheriffe, Cook, Nero, Menzies, Tadulala, penaltyGoals: Deacon 5

Jean Phillippe Baile
Jean Phillippe Baile scored Catalans' fifth try in a remarkable win

Catalans Dragons mounted a stunning second-half comeback to defeat Bradford in the Challenge Cup fourth round.

Tries from Paul Sykes, Rikki Sheriffe, Matt Cook, Chris Nero and Steve Menzies helped Bradford take a 26-0 lead.

Catalans hit back with tries from Olivier Elima (2), Clint Greenshields and Thomas Bosc in Perpignan.

Semi Tadulala scored for Bradford but tries from Jean-Philippe Baile, Bosc and Cyril Gossard gave Les Cats victory despite a late Bradford penalty try.

It was the classic game of two halves as Bradford stormed clear before running out of steam in the heat and sun of French Catalonia.

The Yorkshire side opened the scoring when Menzies made the initial burst through a leaden-footed Catalans defensive line and Sykes supported well before racing over from inside his own half.

The visitors added their second try when Sheriffe cut inside the last defender and was ruled to have touched down despite appearing to lose control.

Paul Deacon could not add the extras from the touchline but his earlier conversion meant the visitors led 10-0 inside the first 10 minutes.


Bradford then decided to turn to the boot and quick-fire tries from kicks by Cook and Nero, plus a Deacon conversion, meant the game appeared to be over as a contest with an hour still to play.

The hosts managed to keep Bradford scoreless until the interval but they surely needed to come out and score first after the break if they were to have any chance of getting back into the game.

Instead, Bradford scored inside the first minute of the second half as Menzies crossed untouched and Deacon's conversion took the lead out to what looked certain to be a decisive 26-0.

The Dragons looked dead and buried but they suddenly came to life with two cracking tries.

First, Elima latched on to a good pass from Greg Bird before racing over from 40m, and then Greenshields appeared on the shoulder of David Ferriol before racing 60m to finish off a fine score.

Paul Deacon
Paul Deacon's five penalties proved to be in vain as his side went out

Bosc converted the first try and within five minutes he cut through a couple of feeble tackles to score a try of his own.

The conversion made it 26-16 and suddenly a comeback victory which had been improbable was starting to look a realistic possibility.

Bradford were shellshocked and they soon shipped a fourth score as Elima dotted down after Casey McGuire had somehow scuffled his way through with a series of little kicks.

Bosc's conversion cut Bradford's lead to four points, but the hosts failed to control the restart, and were forced to drop out.

That gave possession back to Bradford for the first time in 10 minutes and they managed to extend their advantage as Tadulala claimed a hanging kick and Deacon converted to make it 32-22.

By now anything looked possible and the Catalans immediately hit back as Baile juggled the ball behind his back before regaining possession as Bradford fell off a tackle.

Bosc converted to cut the gap to only four points and he raced over under the posts two minutes later before adding the extras to put the French side in front for the first time in the match.

Bradford were now out on their feet and their decision making had gone as well.

It's probably as much as we've hurt ever right at this moment in time

Bradford coach Steve McNamara

When Michael Platt fielded a kick behind his own line he was swamped by French players.

He tried to throw a suicidal pass and Gossard pounced for the hosts' seventh try, with Boss converting to give Les Cats an eight-point lead.

Bradford cut the gap to only two points with five minutes remaining through a converted penalty try after Dave Halley was high tackled as he went over.

And they came within a yard of claiming victory themselves with a desperate late attack, but the move broke down to give Les Catalans the most bizarre of victories.

Catalans coach Kevin Walters:
"At 26-0 you never stop believing but I knew it was getting harder. We needed a bit of luck but we got that and then the players were just brilliant.

"I'm really pleased for them and the fans. They've been so good for the last six or seven weeks and they all deserved what happened here.

"We knew if we were to have any chance in that second half, Thomas Bosc had to stand up. And, to his credit, he did and he was fantastic. David Ferriol really stood up too.

"We've got so much confidence from this win and hopefully that will all go to Harlequins on Thursday back in Super League.

"It can't come quick enough now."

Bradford coach Steve McNamara:
"It's probably as much as we've hurt ever right at this moment in time.

"We blew the game at the end and it was poor for the last 35 minutes.

"We'd controlled up to then and I'd hoped we have learned some lessons from last week (the defeat at Castleford) but we didn't apply them here."

Catalans Dragons: Greenshields, Duport, Bell, Baile, Pelo, Mogg, Bosc, Guisset, McGuire, Ryles, Croker, Elima, Bird.

Substitutes: Ferriol, Carlaw, Gossard, Bentley.

Bradford: Platt, Sheriffe, Sykes, Nero, Tadulala, Jeffries, Deacon, Burgess, Newton, Lynch, Cook, Langley, Menzies.

Substitutes: Worrincy, Scruton, Kopczak, Halley.

Att: 6,450

Ref: S Ganson (St Helens).

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