In an interview this week with the Midi-Olympique rugby paper one of the driving forces behind the Chevaliers Cathares the young President of Carcassonne Monier revealed that the project was still very much alive ("plus que jamais!"). He has spoken with his colleagues at both Limoux and Lezignan and they appear very much on board.. They hope the regional entity will play the Dragons again early in 2016 and an English side also is expected to be on their horizons too. Monier is to approach the RFL about the Cathares putting a side in the Challenge Cup as soon as possible.
A place the Cup would be an exciting development. Was present back in 2002 at St Gaudens when they played host to the first ever CC tie played in France against Halifax. Under Lewis the knockout competition laid the scene for the renovation of the game here with Villeneuve and Toulouse following behind and paving the way for eventual arrival of the Dragons in SL in 2006. Having the likes of Halifax returning and other top Championship sides visiting the Aude region would be a real boost.
Listened in yesterday to radio commentary on Hull KR-Widnes. Big raps from commentators on John Boudebza’s contribution. The 24 year old hooker (5ft 9ins/78 kls) has surprised a lot I think on how quickly he has settled in. Get the impression he is an organising type of player with a good pair of hands – seems to read the game well. Eloi Pelissier 23 years old (5ft 8ins/83 kls) and youngest Dragon to reach 100 SL games – combative, a bit head strong for some - full of energy, opportunistic and quick.
Exciting that France has unearthed this pair playing in the key hooking role. There different strengths should hopefully complement each other. With so much unfolding presently with Garcia to Penrith and the NRL, Springer to Castleford, Pala to Leigh, may be Barthau to debut shortly at London Broncos and not forgetting lots of youngsters showing up at Warrington and St Helens this season. Its about I think raising the bar for as many French players as possible. Wonder what the Tricolores will look like come Australia in 2017.
Lucas Albert is not yet 17 years old but kicked the Dragons U19s and France U18s to memorable victories all in the space of two weekends recently against Wigan and England Academy opposition. I'd heard stories about him around Carcassonne where he was introduced to the game. His father has trained the ASC in recent times as well as a reporter for the local paper. The international game was an eye opener though - the stand off looked to me a spitting image of a young Stacey Jones; the way he played and in appearance too. Days later I was chatting to Jean Cabrol the mine host at Chez Felix on Place Carnot about the lad and with out any prompting he uttered Kiwi maestro's name too!
In todays paper here for first time talk of the possibility of the youngster making a SL debut sooner than later. But Frayssinous wants him to stay exactly where he is for the moment to continue his development at the appropriate level. Of course its all conjecture and a lot can happen in teenage years on and off the field for a young prospect like this. His parents are teachers I think and that may assist or not his development.
Theo Fages of course left Perpignan at about the same age as Albert is now for Salford and has impressed in his years away. Wouldn’t it be great for France and the treize to see this pairing mature into something quite,quite special – dare we talk of the best half backs possibily since who Entat-Dumas in the late 1980’s. We can but dream.
If anything convinced me about the presence of Catalans Dragons in Super League it was this effort this afternoon in Carcassonne. A dozen Dragons Academy lads against the cream across the Channel. 12 points behind after just a couple of minutes it looked like a massacre to happen. But did the French dig in.
Behind at the break 20-22 but with a strong wind behind dominated the second period; it was only a couple of opportunistic scores that got England back infront but a penalty goal sealed it at the death for France. Well deserved. A definate statement for sure.Something moved today.