Eurostar staff peep at Catalans & London Broncos programmes ahead of weekends clashes in Perpignan & the capital. Every little helps. Blake Solly anticipating too the Dragons playing a game in Paris in 2016.
They've picked the following squad to prepare for the game against South Africa at Albi in May. All selected from the Elite 1 comp. Renaud Guigue the Avignon coach in charge. Like the idea. A young group. The team to play in the Autumn to come from full time professionals either at the Dragons or playing across the Channel
I ve seen two of the ASC-TO games this year & been impressed. Both for me could cope in the Championship - bottom half. Toulouse key man was back at Domec this afternoon and he won it for them. Jonathon Ford the Cook Islander was brillant at stand off. Someone said that Zalduendo-Nigel Wood dropped in for a while.
Toulouse roared away to lead 18-0 before the hosts came back at them with the NZ Warriors Holden Cup winner Samson a real handful. It got too two points different on the hour mark before TO pulled away again impressively 38-16. Its 2 wins for ASC, 1 win for TO and 1 draw. Could still meet yet again in the Final.
The Catalans foot print grows still more. If the Dragons and SL put their feet up this past weekend other entities have been on the move. The clubs Wheel Chair set up travelled to Preston to take on Leyland Warriors while the U19s Academy side made their second Channel hop to Odsal where they went down 18-6 to the Bradford Bulls.
Elsewhere have seen recently more interest from 'L'Equipe'. Its minuscule I know but its there. They did a decent review of their opening game at Saints and a few sentences the day after. They are at least listing the SL fixtures/results giving it more exposure. They repeated it for Castleford game too. Must keep an eye on it as its the only print coverage the code gets nationally here.
Sorry Audois but where are the offices located ???
The hope would be some up date on Toulouse Olympique. Zalduendo has met RFL I think in the last 6 months and the TO President I understand spoke with Ralph Rimmer and Blake Solly at Warrington the other week when they were over for pre-season game.
May be some update on the international scene. Richard Agars involvement. Match in South Africa in May plus venues for autumn matches here against Ireland, Scotland and possibly New Zealand.
Will be interesting if he brings any new re-organisation ideas to the table re-Elite 1 & 2; may be they just need to give it more time for the two levels to come closer together.
Well history was made at Langtree Park last night when the Dragons U19s Academy made that very first stride. They lost 28-4 with centre Arthur Romano from Carpentras grabbing their first ever points. Only 10-0 at the break before falling away in final quarter. They travelled over with the SL team and just having that experience of playing at a major venue and setting will serve them in their development. London Broncos next up Saturday week at Brutus. Another new page in Catalans history has been written. Onwards and upwards!
Yes, that's all well and good, but what of this "war" with the French federation? Surely that can't be good for the game in France ???
Not ideal I know. Fed worried about the Poles at Toulouse, Carcassonne and Salon. But getting a group of 18 young French lads crossing the Channel every other week mixing with best of Wigan, Wire , Leeds and Saints has to be the way to go. The Warriors in Auckland do it; why not Catalans who's needs are greater. They have to press on.
Main front page today of the popular daily in the Perpignan region. Guasch has out lasted a least three USAP Presidents since the Dragons arrived on the scene in 2006. His profile colossal. Has legendary status already. Put the code on its highest plinth possible. He dominates the French Catalonia sporting scene like no other.
At last after ten years the local public radio station in Perpignan (Radio Bleu Roussillon) will cover all the home games of the Dragons in 2015 for the first time . Some what bizarrly the station have though from the off covered all the clubs away games across the Channel.
The well travelled Bruno Onteniente will again do the commentries with former Dragons player and present Lezignan trainer Aurelien Cologni alongside summarising. RBR will also do a magasine type programme twice a month.
Onteniente also doubles up as a match reporter for the popular daily ,'L'Independant'. Of late the paper increasingly use Matthieu Terrats also for match reports and team updates. They've made some progress since they started even if close to home.
Club President resplendent in Wire scarf. Smith ever the progressive visited the visitors changing room to congratulate them on their performance. Blake Solly and Ralph Rimmer present to see it unfold. Allez TO XIII!
For me the French game its endless treading water. Toulouse want to be playing across the Channel as soon as possible. Now after Saturday in Carcassonne there'll be lots to dicuss of where now. I dont see the Dragons wanting to be anywhere other than where they are now. What has Guasch slogged away for these past 15 years. He's eating at the top table now; who's going to try and prise away from that table. Since the new structure came in he will be ever vigilant and his primary goal will be to protect his club; the national team will have to wait.
The mantra for me is the four regional hubs - Catalans, Toulouse, Avignon-Vaucluse-Rhone and the Aude - intergrating with top of the European game. Would love to see a Conference Structure in time. Each of the regions developing the game behind the professional clubs.
But back to Saturday. I said to a few people that we just need more events like what happened at Domec. The past weekend has raised the codes profile tremendously in this area. Somebody has to run with it from there.
I'm not seeing any direction from the Federation so its up to the clubs to make it work. Similarly what is the RFLs stance at the moment. Solly was once quoted here that the SL would be motor to develop the game here. Of course that was when Lewis was in charge.
Back to the Cathares its going to be fascinating what they come up with. The CC could be a starter; giving the regions direct access every year. This was how Lewis got the ball rolling initially wasn't it; Villeneuve, St Gaudens, UTC and Toulouse et al.