Well you may not if your own club was smaller and would lose out, but the principle is solid.
I'm not sure of the value of an RL development officer in a southern town against one in a northern town?
Would you not, given finite resources, use DO's in your southern strongholds in France and not in the north where there is no career path to follow?
DO's I refered to where the ones cut after Sport England cut their grants leaving large swaths of the South without. France can look after itself there . The Dragons looking at making a real impact supporting youth development in their own region as the club grows in size and influence.
France has different needs to the UK. For me the ideal model here is developing the game around 4 major hubs of activity. With each of region/city Catalan, Toulouse, Aude and Vaucluse having its own individual pyramid.
Could Vacluse not build in a similar way that Aude seem to be? Set up a regional side that challenges Catalans in a friendly and build from there? Outside of Toulouse, there does seem to be a shortage of traditional French areas that are large enough to sustain fully pro clubs.
May be walk before we can run. But excited by Aude Cathares project - first team meeting Wednesday next and new shirt launch. They've got the moniker with the 'Knights' already in place. The after match do' to be named 'Night of Legends' with lots of former players from both Catalan & Aude clubs expected.
Vaucluse is the missing link; I don't believe SL can accommodate 4 French clubs any day soon but the game both sides of the Channel must be intergrated more than it is now. If the Challenge Cup changes back to Spring soon it would be great to bring in the likes of the Aude & Vaucluse as a permanent fixture. Hopefully Toulouse will be already involved before then.
See that Zeb Taia has extended his stay with Catalans till the end of 2017. One of their best ever signings. Cook Islands skipper ever present last term and since his arrival in 2013 has scored 22 tries in 52 games. Voted club man of the year this last season. People like him and Anderson the core of the team. Good stuff.
I agree the French have potential and I agree that they should have more presence in SL on a gradual basis, but they should not be blocked by this TV deal hurdle on principle. If they can get it fine, but surely they would have more chance getting it if ESL let them in.
Is this the chicken and the egg. RFL want TV money up front from Bein for further French involvement. Lewis never mentioned it because his was a European SL project all along.
If they had gone with both Catalans & Toulouse in 2006 and Toulouse had developed as per Dragons it would be easier to approach Bein today with real potential of 12000 and 18000 derby crowds to televise for local consumption.
The Dragons where initially accepted in 2003 and delayed twice. Even then Brutus wasn't ready till 2007. Guasch had created the UTC in late 2000 after St Esteve lost to Toulouse Spacers in 1999-2000 Championship Final at Stade Charlety in Paris.
Press conference yesterday and the Aude Pays Cathare Knights are born! "L'Defi " ( the challenge) the key word in the publicity. Just €10 admission sounds just right. They say here the Aude Trophy between the three senior clubs was just the starting point of the project and the Dragons match the second stage. To be built on.
It is ambitious, is the game gonna be shown online?
I dont know.
There's special press conference on Monday at Villegy chateau on the edge of Carcassonne. Bernard Guasch & Laurent Frayssinous to be present with the three Presidents of the ASC, FCL and Limoux. The coaches have already met up with Frayssinous and the local selection may be announced. But there's a lot of interest being generated; just hoping they get some decent weather to get the punters out. Should be a great night.
Now the announcement of an Academy U16s for the Dragons to play cross Channel opposition - 8 matches - in 2016. Club intend to overhaul all the schools of rugby in the Catalan region (pop 300,000) investing a sum of around £500,000 for each of the next 5 years. 120 or so U15s will be assembled later this month to assess potential and a group of forty to attend special summer camp ahead of 2016. They also intend to have a seperate camp for those not in the area so as to trawl the net far & wide. Additionally they want to raise the level of expertise of educators/coaches across all the age groups of the local schools of rugby pushing for a category 1 status with the RFL along the likes of Wigan, St.Helens et al.
I'd support Toulouse and Carcassonne (but not yet Avignon) joining the Championship and even being exempt from relegation to League 1 (provided they don't kep finishing at the bottom). However, I don't think you could include them straight into SL or give them a relegation exemption there as you could potentially have 3 French clubs in the middle eight and the top 2 sides having to have the million pound game which would be lunacy.
Certainly the league game the other week between Toulouse-Carcassonne established a template standard wise. Both have young promising coaches in Houles and Garnier. Both should have decent stadiums in the making. The challenge is of both being able to comfortably to arrive at a budget of £2M from the off. There is a lot of excitment locally building around the Aude Cathare game against the Dragons in January. This may be the way to go here to arrive at a required budget; they would play some games at both Limoux and Lezignan too. I would prefer to see Avignon before Carcassonne but with the three local Presidents now appearing to be joined at the hips the Aude now in some type of ascendency. There is a feeling this representative side could have some substance; its early days I know. If the turn out is good at Domec next month it will be interesting to see who they could play next and when.
It was interesting that this years 4N down under completely left out both Sydney and Auckland two of the codes traditional power bases. Thought NZ going with Whangerai, Dunedin and Wellington was exceptional and indicative of the games progress there. What would be our version of that in the UK? Newcastle, Bristol and London.
Club press conference at Brutus this morning to welcome new coaching assistant Michael Monaghan & the returning Remi Casty. Think they're pleased about picking up the former Warrington half back/hooker in the knowledge of some one who has only just retired. To many the front row didn't quite have the edge in 2014. Having Casty back could well remedy that.
The playing squad come together for the first time next Monday. The French international players & Elliott Whitehead exempt till next month. Also the club have cut the first team squad to just 23 for the new campaign - may be the new impending U19s Academy has some thing to do with that. The supporters clubs invited to share a breakfast with players and coaching staff followed by first run out and press conference to officially announce the arrival of Todd Carney. The other major recruit Willie Tonga arrived last week and performed the celebrity kick off along side Monaghan at St Esteve Sunday for the reserve team game. The new coach was a Canberra player which may well help Carney settle in along with Ben Pomeroy who played with the half back at Cronulla.
Elsewhere hear that the Federation President Carlos Zalduendo is part of a government delegation travelling with President Francois Hollande to Sydney and Canberra next week. Some recognition or what!
The French are getting decent images apparently with this one fortunately. The club made an effort at Domec this afternoon with new sponsors boards around the perimeter which is positive. Plenty of signage relating to the Aude Cathare XIII thing. ASC well in front for Trophy at season's end (see below). Well first half embarrassing with visitors not turning up & 30-0 at the break. Talk about momentum and change round. FCL fortunately got it together & won second half with four unaswered tries & Greseque having to drop a goal to calm everybody down & see the Canaris home 33-20. Thought one of the best players was prop Pelo who hails from New Caledonia. On this showing should have been in Agars selection. Crowd given as 2658.
Elsewhere decent set of results:
St Esteve 29-24 Avignon
Palau 26-36 Toulouse
Limoux 38-16 Villeneuve
Good that there where lots of youngsters on show at St Esteve and not one overseas player in sight. Avignon at the bottom but have picked up 5 bonus points in eight games all lost while their U21s are top of the pile undefeated! The 'clasico' next up Toulouse-Carcassonne next Saturday. Surely the titles are between this pair. We'll see.
The Kiwi tour, assuming they stay in form as a national team, should be a tremendous contest and spectacle. I hope it is sold to the wider public as such.
As a kid I remember the Kiwi visits downunder where a tag on at the end of a long expansive tour of Oz. The two Tests or Auckland was usually at the same mud heap that was Carlaw Park. If it was today you'd imagine some impressive turn outs across NZ thinking now of Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Whangerai as well as Auckland. The rise of NZ has been really impressive.