Wakefield Wildcats put injury-hit Catalan Dragons to the sword as they posted back-to-back Super League victories for only the second time this season.
Winger Peter Fox and second rower Danny Kirmond scored two tries apiece as Wildcats boss Richard Agar, the French national coach, enjoyed a comfortable success against the nucleus of his World Cup squad.
The Dragons were there for the taking as they struggled to cope with the absence of eight members of their first-team squad and suffered a fourth defeat in their last five league matches to lose more ground on the leaders.
Wakefield, on the other hand, comfortably managed to offset the loss of stand-off Paul Sykes, with Kyle Wood slotting into the role to form a useful combination with the ever-dangerous Tim Smith, although the man-of-the-match award deservedly went to impressive centre Dean Collis.
The game began on a gentle simmer and only came to life after the Catalans had taken the lead.
Former Great Britain stand-off Leon Pryce, who was at the heart of virtually all the Dragons’ attacking moves, supplied a perfectly-timed short pass for second rower Kevin Larroyer to slip through a gap in the Wakefield defence for the opening try on 14 minutes.
Thomas Bosc’s goal made it 6-0 but the Wildcats eventually found their rhythm, aided by a run of four consecutive penalties, and hit their visitors with three tries in the second quarter to open up an 18-6 interval lead.
Collis’ delightful flick got right winger Peter Fox over midway through the first half and skipper Kirmond pounced for the second after defender Zeb Taia dropped the ball from Wood’s high kick.
Lee Smith kicked a penalty for a Larroyer shoulder charge, to add to his earlier conversion, and Wakefield struck again on the stroke of half-time through left winger Ben Cockayne.
Fox looked set to grab his second try after being released by the classy Collis and, although his run was halted by an ankle tap by Catalan hooker Ian Henderson, Cockayne scored from the next play after Wood’s kick rebounded fortuitously off the posts.
The Catalans continued to concede penalties in the second half and they paid the price when, despite Agar calling for a kick for goal, Wakefield ran the ball from in front of the posts and Collis combined with Lee Smith to get Fox over for his second try.
Fox then turned trysaver by bringing down a rampaging Mickael Simon in full flight for the line and Tim Smith’s 40-20 kick then set up the position for Lee Smith to add a penalty to stretch his side’s lead to 24-6.
There was no way back for the visitors when Tim Smith’s sublime inside pass got Cockayne into space and Kirmond was in support to score his second try.
The French side had conceded 30 points in a row but Larroyer stopped the rot when he took Pyrce’s pass to go over for his second try on 65 minutes and Bosc kicked his second goal.
Winger Damien Blanch would have also scored had he been able to take Vincent Duport’s pass but the ball slipped from his grasp with the line beckoning.
Some of the gloss was taken from Wakefield’s victory when prop Justin Poore limped off with a leg injury 13 minutes from the end.