THE dark cloud of losing on-song scrum half Theo Fages for two games with a hip injury has a silver lining for Danny Richardson, who will now get his first shot of the season in Catalans on Saturday.

The 2018 Dream Team number seven struggled in the off season with a groin injury, allowing Fages to get the jump on the position from the outset.

And after eight wins out of eight, with Fages playing well off the back a dominant pack, possession has been nine tenths of the law meaning that Richardson has not had a sniff of the first team up till now.

But after a couple of man of the match displays while on dual registration at Leigh, the 22-year-old Widnesian now gets his chance with Fages sidelined.

Holbrook said: “The best thing about dual reg is that Danny has been playing at Leigh. He started slowly there but has put a few good games together there.

“If we had not had that then he would not have played for eight weeks before he is called upon.

“He will be excited to get his opportunity.”

Richardson may be eager to bring his full bag of tricks to impress on the coach - and external critics ­— what he can still bring to the table.

But Holbrook is keen to utilise those different skills without upsetting the team chemistry that has delivered a perfect start to 2019.

“I want him to come in and play the way Danny plays.

“It is a different style to Theo, but he knows that he has just got to come in and do his job as well.

“If his job is doing his trick plays, then I am ok with that but as long as it is not too far away from where we want to be as a team,” Holbrook said.

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It is quite a tough baptism for Richardson ­— the Stade Gilbert Brutus can be a cauldron with the Dragons posing a formidable physical challenge.

Catalans losing so badly at Wigan on the weekend will not have done Saints any favours.

Holbrook admitted that he had looked at that game, but is not reading too much into it.

He said: “I will look at closely myself but won’t show too much of that to the players because that is not the side we are going to play.

“A coach’s job is to prepare for the side you are going to come up against – that won’t be the one that lost at Wigan, but more like the one that pipped Warrington.

“With that loss they will be even more motivated to come at us with everything they have got.

“Plus, they are a different side over there.

"It is a hostile environment, but a rewarding one if you play good enough to win.

"We had two really tough games in Perpignan last year and won them both – even after that cup semi final defeat we went back a few weeks later and beat them.

“We know how hard it is – but are confident that if we can play well we can get the win.”

Saints are doing the trip differently this year.

With no chartered flights available, they leave early Thursday morning, flying to Barcelona and then a three hour bus trip to Perpignan.

They will train Friday and then play Saturday.

“It is our only long trip of the year so it will be good for us to get away as a group for a few days and we are looking forward to that, but it is a different challenge.