SAINTS lost their 100 per cent record and place at the Super League summit with the 18-10 defeat by Catalans Dragons at a soggy and boggy Stade Gilbert Brutus.

With the pitch something of a gluepot, running opportunities were limited with conditions forcing Saints into playing a limited brand of rugby that played into the hosts hands.

It was a real, dour war of attrition and once the Dragons got their noses in front, courtesy of a Sam Tomkins penalty, Saints spent the remainder of the half trying and failing to crack open the defence.

There was never much in it from start to finish.

Given the way the 50:50s fell and the fortuitous way the ball bounced for the Dragons, maybe it was just one of those days.

Saints probably should have realised that when Jonny Lomax was pulled out of the line-up due to sickness, with coach Justin Holbrook forced to partner Danny Richardson with 18-year-old Jack Welsby in a fledgling half back partnership.

And it had started well for Saints and Richardson, playing his first game for Saints this year in place of the injured Theo Fages, when he slotted the kick through for second row Dom Peyroux to race on to for the opener after just three minutes.

But Catalans, who suffered a severe mauling on their travels the previous week, showed that they are a different beast on their home patch.

And they replied four minutes later with a kick of their own to the corner with Fouad Yaha adjudged to have got enough on the ball for a try to be given. Multiple replays saw more contact from the Saints arm before it was scooped dead, but the video ref backed up the on the field call and the scores were level.

Although conditions made it difficult to spread the ball and turn on the football Saints had been producing all year, there was a glimpse But on 25 minutes we saw a flash of that with Tommy Makinson collecting a quality cut-out pass from creative full back Lachlan Coote to cross in the corner to restore Saints’ lead.

Saints held that until just before the break when a kick left was bounced back from Yaha, strainght into the grateful arms of Tomkins who was left with the formality of touching down.

Level at the break, a Tomkins penalty gave the Dragons a lead that they would not relinquish with Saints not troubling the scoreboard in the second half.

Although Saints dominated much of the second half they could not prise open the defence – and it was only when they threw caution to the wind in the closing minutes that they looked like scoring.

A late Tony Gigot try – their third from a kick – sealed the game for the Dragons.

Saints: Coote, Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace; Welsby, Richardson; Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Peyroux, Knowles.

Subs: Paulo, Amor, Lees, Ashworth.

Catalans Dragons: Tomkins, Yaha, Langi, Wiliame, Tierney; Gigot, Smith; Bousquet, Da Costa, Moa, Jullien, Whitley, Casty.

Subs: Bird, Goudemand, Albert, Kasiano.