Catalans Dragons crowned first European champions with scintillating win over Wigan Warriors

CATALANS DRAGONS are the first official European wheelchair champions after a brilliant 68-28 victory over Wigan Warriors.

Jérémy Bourson and Damien Doré each scored five tries while England star Seb Bechara was also pivotal for the Dragons in the clash between champions from each side of the Channel.

The match at Robin Park Lesiure Centre was the second European Club Championship match (the first, last season, was drawn between Catalans and Halifax in Perpignan).

Dec Roberts got Wigan off to the perfect start with a seventh-minute try, but Catalans hit back with a three-try blitz – two by Doré and one from Bourson off a stunning Bechara kick, for an 18-6 lead.

Roberts narrowed the gap to six points with a fine show-and-go plus another conversion, but the Dragons’ class saw them dominate the rest of the first half and score five times in 13 minutes.

Bechara collected a kick, Arno Vargas took a loose ball and raced the length of the field and Doré completed his hat-trick from a great team move.

Bourson then notched two more in the final two minutes of the half for a 46-12 Dragons lead at the break – and it was clear they were going to win by a big margin when he followed with another two, both assisted by Gilles Clausells, at the start of the second period.

Doré also notched his fourth and fifth, each of which were followed up by consolatory Adam Rigby scores for Wigan from fine assists by Roberts, who completed his own hat-trick with nine minutes remaining as the Warriors finished brightly.

Wigan: Chris Greenhalgh, Nathan Roberts, Declan Roberts, Adam Rugby, Phil Roberts. Subs (all used): Martin Lane, Mark Williams, Matt Wooloff.

Tries: D Roberts (7, 21, 71), Rigby (53, 65)
Goals: D Roberts 4/5

Catalans: Victor Puly, Seb Bechara, Jérémy Bourson, Arno Vargas, Damien Doré. Subs (all used): Gilles Clausells, Joël Lacombe, Jorge Gelade-Panzo.

Tries: Doré (11, 15, 35, 50, 58), Bourson (17, 39, 40, 45, 48), Bechara (27), Vargas (31)
Goals: Bechara 10/12

Referees: David Butler and Djamel Merzouk

Read a fuller report plus reaction in Monday’s League Express.