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Rugby League World Issue 402

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The Play-offs Issue - pictured (out 12 Sept) – Covering the climax of the Super League & Championship seasons
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League Express



Member Since 18 Apr 2004
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 04:39 PM

#2992169 French updates

Posted by audois on 10 September 2014 - 11:14 AM

A select aude team to play the dragons in a friendly in January, 7 players from each team to make the squad of 21,


Like this. Wonder if they'll play it at Stade Domec. When the Dragons held their Team Presentation evening a few years back in Carcassonne nearly 1000 turned up.


It would be good if we could attract more big events to fill out the calendar. The Lord Derby Cup was here last season. The only international this year against Wales is at Albi.


Would an Aude Cathare-Cumbria match up have any legs? Both regions same geographical size; West Cumbria & the Aude department similar populations. Both have three semi pro clubs to draw from. Whitehaven played a friendly against the ASC here the other year. Both areas steeped in league history need challenges like this.

#2987581 Félix to Félix - a very particular treize story

Posted by audois on 03 September 2014 - 11:32 AM

Four generations linked here. Bar Felix on Place Carnot in the heart of Carcassonne is known by a fair few who post on here. The Bar originates from Félix Bergèse who was a Basque who arrived in the town after Second World War and became central to the Canaris golden epoch under the great Puig Aubert. Bergèse played & later coached the ASC.


The present landlord Jean Cabrol married Bergèse's daughter & Jean's son Baptiste and daughter Anne work with him in the Bar today. He's a fine host as people like Ray French et al will testify to the reception given.Cabrol himself was a fine player/coach with St Gaudens & Montpellier. Jean a great treiziste as this superb Webdoc reveals.


In the opening sequences there's a super image of the bar with Jean, family & staff present where they've super imposed Felix Bergèse & his wife next to Jean! As you see unfold its a Treize story from front to back. All the characters are there; Guasch, Zaldunedo & Ivan Greseque too. Some of the pictures there of the returning history making Tricolores of 1951to Marseille incredible. Players given individual limousines to carouse along the sea front on debarkation ('L'Age D'or du) - Jean Dop & Jackie Merquey. The story kind of comes up to date with Jean's grand children running around with a rugby ball at the ecole de rugby. Smashing stuff. Worth a peep!



#2987079 Academy sides in 2015

Posted by audois on 02 September 2014 - 01:12 PM

Does anyone know how many sides will be included? Do they play home& away against all the teams. I think everyone this side of the Channel is pretty excited by the Catalans participation next year. Seventeen young French hopefuls fronting up week on week against Englands best. It's a huge statement by the club. After Wembley, the new Puig Aubert Stand, the U19's arrival is on par.

#2983401 Revamped Challenge Cup

Posted by audois on 27 August 2014 - 02:32 PM



Would having a French "second" round help? It would give more localised competition in the first instance. For instance:


Rd 2: 8 x LER clubs - taking place January-ish to fit with the wider local calendar

Rd 3: 4 clubs qualify for Challenge Cup Rd 3 and join the open pool


Would an increased French presence in the Cup devalue the Lord Derby?


Outside Perpignan I think we need more challenging & attractive fixtures to supplement what we have now. I dont feel adding the likes of Palau and St Esteve to the mix is worthwhile as that area has Super League; we must try and provide regular openings up in Provence. After the biggest crowd in half a centuary in Avignon last November nothing is planned for this year & may be next to build on that.


My read of it is regional selections are a better fit for cross Channel stuff; if we could get a more homogeneous Elite of 20 clubs that would be a start. I think they've making a tentative stab at it. Number of overseas players dropping slowly. With increasing number of Dragons players moving to England after finishing their stints in Perpignan the local game standard has I feel to drop a level even further to return stronger later but with more French involvement than its had in more than 30 years.


I think Toulouse Olympique presently are now not far off the top 4/5 of the Championship and a well prepared Aude selection wouldn't be far behind.


Hearing that the Aude Cathares selection may see the light of day next January with a pre-season run out against the Dragons.

#2982939 What can we do to increase attendances?

Posted by audois on 26 August 2014 - 01:18 PM

For me we have to improve the attractiveness of the product itself. 


How many people outside Leeds cared about Leeds winning yet another trophy on Saturday.


It was billed as an end to 15 years of hurt. What rubbish.


There were less and less neutrals there, they seem to be fed up with the same clubs winning the trophies. The demise of attendances at the Championship clubs also seems to have hit the Wembley crowd. The championship club fans used to have an annual day out at Wembley. the less Championship club fans there are and the less take that day out.


In the end it looked like a big Leeds turn out, and a limited turn out from a small town that can only muster so much support, and not many wanting to invest in the game when it was nicely presented on Telly.


When the Chemics played Hull KR in the Wembley final of 1964 they where 12th & 9th respectively in the then 1st Division. But more interestingly the Robins only just edged past Oldham after a replay in the semi-final. That year the Roughyeds where in the 2nd Division.


In 1967 Fev played Barrow. That year the former finished 20th & the latter 15th after the two division set up had been discarded. All teams then part time & every year twenty of the 30 professional clubs thought that Wembley was achievable. On the ladder that year behind Featherstone only half a dozen teams had never made at least a semi-final around that time from what I remember; Bramley, Keighley,Blackpool, Liverpool, Doncaster & Batley.


Whitehaven pipped by Leeds at Odsal, York edged out at Elland Rd by Wigan and Dewsbury by Saints at Swinton spring to mind. It was why the Cup had that magic about it. But full time professionalism and SL killed all that for me. May be its time to invite the NRL to participate!

#2982472 Empty Seats On The Telly.....

Posted by audois on 25 August 2014 - 12:27 PM

"Entrenched parochialism? Well it is a tradition after all and it isn't going to go away. It isn't something you get in other sports…people go to big games in other sports purely for the pleasure of it."


Few years back Montpellier newly promoted to France's Top 14 took barely 4000 to Paris for their first Final appearance. Even Stade Toulouse struggled with just 9000. But still 80,000 turned up. I still think its about growing the game. Same in Australia. The Winfield Cup was Sydney orientated but when NRL arrived an outsiders Melbourne-Brisbane Final still had the capacity to draw the punters.

#2980975 Jean-Philippe Baile to Bradford

Posted by audois on 21 August 2014 - 01:02 PM

Been reported here the utility player 27 yrs old with 77 SL games under his belt has signed for the Bulls for next two seasons. Joining up with another Carcassonne lad Mikael Simon who has gone to Wakefield.

#2971112 European Championship Fixtures Released

Posted by audois on 04 August 2014 - 12:17 PM

I would have thought Galashiels a decent call. Gala, Hawick, Kelso et al the heartlands of Scottish rugby and where league heros Valentine, Stan Cowan, Shillinglaw, Ron Cowan and Tait all came from.

#2970247 Catalans Rumour

Posted by audois on 03 August 2014 - 11:58 AM

Catalans continue to expand their operation. Here the new club committee convened this past week with two new members Mathieu Khedimi, who will have responsibility for the new U19s Academy set up in 2015 and Gerard Callis who is the Chairman of St Esteve Elite 1 club and the Dragons feeder side. Both sound like good appointments bringing the diverse elements of the club together. See that Cyril Gossard who played in the Wembley Final of 2006 is going to be one of the Academy trainers next year - good solid player & bloke to have on board with the youngsters. Seb Raguin who was also in that Wembley match continues his work as the clubs football manager more especially now as he has retired from playing fully after a last year fling at St Esteve. For me Guasch makes some good signings certainly off the field.


Posted by audois on 18 July 2014 - 11:12 AM

Being more of a long time TV watcher of the game and only recently becoming a regular at attending, I could be very wrong here but I've never noticed an ice cream stand at any of the grounds I've been to.
Now we're a summer sport and we actually seem to be having a summer for the second year in a row, I'd have expected to see a van or one of those mobile stalls doing a roaring trade particularly on a blazing hot Saturday or Sunday afternoon game.
It's not like you'd have to do anything other than have someone on standby once you know what the weather's likely to do. Surely some grounds have this??

Broncos at the Stoop circa 1997 had Haagen Dazs on tap. As a kid could buy ice cream at Naughton Park Widnes circa 1958. A fella from St Helens by the name of Mitchell had the franchise. He was there for years. A 99er with cadbury flake in February just a treat!

#2959853 Mickael Simon to Trinity

Posted by audois on 16 July 2014 - 10:05 AM

For me further sign of Catalans foot print. Larroyer first at Hull KR now Simon to Trinity. At the top well sure Casty at the Roosters. Pelissier and even more so Escare courted strongly across the Channel. Now for the Academy to come on stream in 2015 to accelerate the process. Onwards and upwards.

#2958878 Back to the old future.

Posted by audois on 14 July 2014 - 12:33 PM

Tony Smith on London.

Warrington coach Tony Smith had little sympathy with London's plight after watching his side run in 13 tries against the Broncos.

Smith said: "For the London club and for Super League it's a lesson to be learned. It shows you how not to get ready for a rugby league season.

"London are paying the price for having a handful of players at the start of the season while the rest of us when were honing our skills and doing the hard work in November and December for a long and arduous contest.

"When you start the season with just a few players do you expect anything else? It didn't matter who was the coach it was a year for relegation and being so under prepared of course they were going to get their backsides kicked.

"And if they didn't you would have to look at the rest of us in the competition because of the advantage that we had.

"It's how not to do things and how not to improve the standards of Super League by letting clubs in when they were so ill-prepared like London were."

#2957537 Pizza Boy!

Posted by audois on 11 July 2014 - 01:14 PM

Eloi Pelissier cuts such an efferescent figure in Catalan country whether on home territory up the Agly Valley at St Paul, the family Pizza shop at Canet Plage or on the field at Brutus. This week he has been followed on his jaunts by a Bein Sports Television crew doing a profile on one of the Dragons treasured jewels; the 22 year old hooker is on the verge of becoming the youngest ever Dragons player to reach 100 appreances for the club. They'll show the piece prior to their live coverage of the Wigan game tomorrow night. The French game depends entirely on Bein Sports to give the game visibility nationwide. These player profiles - they've done the same with Escare,Whitehead,Williams, Bosc & Duport too - valuable to raise the Dragons & the games profile this side of the Channel.

#2956325 Carcassone in Super League

Posted by audois on 08 July 2014 - 11:22 AM

Not sure why SKY are televising all the Catalans home games. If they think these are good TV I bet Catalans and Toulouse derbies may go down well with the broadcaster?

I am under the impression that SKY have paid more this year because more games are being shown. And every other week that extra game come from Perpignan courtesy of French televisions Bein Sports feed.The Sky commentry crew sit I think if I'm not mistaken in a studio somewhere in the UK. The trade off is Bein Sport take other SL games from across the Channel produced by Sky with the French commentary this time done from Paris. Additionally Catalan have outlayed money to install a permanent giant screen which saves SKy the expense of having to re-locate and negates the RFL having to send over additional officials.

A poster a while back said that Catalans are quids in on this one because a supplement is paid to all clubs shown on television. I hope this is so because there has been a fall off in French fans travelling distances to Perpignan since Bein Sport came on stream (for just €11 a month).

#2955941 Catalan Academy U19s

Posted by audois on 07 July 2014 - 12:14 PM

Catalan have announced the names of their 35 player Academy squad for 2015. 24 are from the Catalan area including five from rugby union including a quartet from USAP and one each from Albi, Avignon,Carpentras,St Gaudens and Villeneuve-sur-Lot. It seems that the Dragons have abided by the Federations decision to restrict their recruitment to one per elite club although there are half a dozen from the three Aude clubs Carcassonne, Lezignan & Limoux. There are only 5 players who played for French U18s recently against the England Academy side. The group reassemble this week for initial training session before being presented to the crowd at the Wigan match Saturday night. There will be some fine tuning before the final 25 man group is established before pre-season starts in September.