A trip to France is ideal for Daryl Powell’s debut as Castleford Tigers coach, he says.
Tigers flew out on Thursday and will return home tomorrow, after this afternoon’s showdown with Catalan Dragons in Perpignan.
Three nights away will give Powell – who joined Cas from Featherstone Rovers last week – extra time to get to know his players away from the training pitch and he reckons that is “ideal”.
“Over the next four weeks we’ve got four away games, so we’ve got a fair bit of travelling to do,” he said.
“This is a great opportunity to sit down with the guys and you see them in a different environment, which is always good.
“But ultimately it is about going there and winning a game. It will be a tough challenge for us.
“Catalan will be disappointed with what happened last time out in Super League, against Wakefield.
“They will be fired up and motivated and we’ve got to go out there and meet them head on.”
Catalan scored 92 points in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup last week, against Kingstone Press Championship outfit York City Knights.
At the start of round 15 Tigers had the joint second-worst defensive record in Super League and Powell said: “Catalan are a team full of talent, ability and size.
“They are a formidable outfit up front and they can score points, no doubt about that. The focus since I came in has been defence, how we manage contact and some communication processes I thought needed to be improved.
“Everything has been focused on what we do when we haven’t got the ball. I do believe there’s a lot of special things in there in terms of what we do with the ball.
“This team can beat anybody, there’s no question about that.
“It’s about being able to do it consistently, that’s the key.”
Tigers are without Weller Hauraki, who suffered a shoulder injury in the win over Hull KR two weeks ago.
There is still no place for loan signing Tyrone McCarthy, but Grant Millington is in contention for the first time since being hurt in the Good Friday loss to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Richard Owen and Charlie Martin are also vying for a call-up.
Today’s game will be 27-year-old prop Craig Huby’s 200th game for Tigers and his 150th Super League appearance.
The club’s longest-serving player, he made his debut as a substitute in a 39-26 defeat by Leeds Rhinos at Headingley on June 7, 2003.
Forward Gregory Mounis is set to play his 200th game for Dragons.
He played in their first game – a 38-30 win over Wigan Warriors, on February 11, 2006 – and holds Catalan’s appearance record.
Steve Menzies, Ian Henderson and Louis Anderson could all return for Catalan, with William Barthau dropping out from last week’s team.
Catalan Dragons from: Escare, Blanch, Duport, Millard, Pala, Pryce, Bosc, Simon, Pelissier, Casty, Taia, Larroyer, Mounis, Maria, Fakir, Baile, Henderson, Menzies, Anderson.
Castleford Tigers from: Tansey, Carney, Shenton, Thompson, Dixon, Chase, Ellis, Mason, Clark, Boyle, Holmes, Gilmour, Massey, Walker, Huby, Milner, Millington, Owen, Martin.
Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington).
Kick-off: May 18, 3pm (BST, 4pm local).