Last years runners -up Pia have recruited strongly taking ASC's Chris Moly and two decent Limoux players in Arty Shead and centre Mathieu Mayans. Few are looking beyond these three sides for the honours in 2011. Limoux could be a bit off the pace and have Aussie Daniel Wagon returning as coach. Not sure if he intends to play or not. The Grizzlies have a Welsh feel with Gareth Dean now on board alongside Geriant Davies from the Scorpions and Barrow's Anthony Blackwood.
There was a hope that the game would cut back on the number of overseas players but it looks like business as usual unfortunately. Sixteen signed up in the Aude alone. It makes it harder for the other hopefuls to compete and inhibits clubs from seeking promotion. Montpellier have made the move up this year at least giving the comp ten clubs. Fingers very much crossed for them as they dont appear to have brought on board many new players. Last year FCL played Pia in the Final. As their Juniors did. These clubs have the pick of all the best players including the kids coming through.
Interestingly this past summer Villeneuve who its believed will be coached some time this year by Stanley Gene supplied up to half a dozen of the Federations Roosters team U20s who played against Super League opposition. Hopefully USV will be on an upward curve with some of their youngsters building on their recent success. They've also got a good lively full back returning in Farid Nicolas too. In the same vein will be I think the entente St Gaudens-Toulouse. The link between these clubs seems to be developing nicely. Two veteran Aussies seem to have returned in Adam Innes and Rus Bussain to add experience to a youthful squad. TO XIII blooding lads before the CC challenge across the Channel re-starts in February.
There will be interest to see how the improvements up in Provence at Avignon and Carpentras will be built on. SOA have an Aussie coach Amos returning and have taken two good forwards from Limoux in Aaron Wood and Joris Casals. RCCC too should shape up. The two Khattabi brothers lead the way and Said Tamghart returning from Halifax will create a feisty pack and young Soubrayas in the backs gives some dash outwide.
Will be interesting to see what Steve Deakin makes of St Esteve-XIII Catalans the Dragons feeder club. All French obviously and now with wing Carlos Mendes signed up when it was thought he would end up in Carcasssonne after playing for Toulouse last year in the CC. No doubt the incoming Trent Robinson will want to have a look at these hopefuls before deciding who will get the final jumpers at the Dragons come 2011.
Edited by audois, 21 September 2010 - 11:26 AM.