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  1. Former Huddersfield prop Sam Rapira here welcomed by club President Sarrazain when pre-season training commenced this week at the clubs new base camp for 2018 - Sports Complex Lautrec. This move seems to confirms that the building work at Stade Minimes must be about to start. Hopefully!
  2. In the union game at Lyon the publicity was that the All Blacks would play France twice in November- but just four days after the first. A number of players from both sides appeared in both - lads who where replacements in Paris turned out on the Tuesday. The only thing I picked up was that France wouldn't award caps. But all the reports I saw here just refered to 'France v All Blacks' on both occasions. The shirts worn identical in the two Tests. The public accepted it as a bonafide fixture.
  3. Last Tuesday evening a France XV played an unofficial Test - no caps awarded - against the All Blacks in Lyons infront of 56,000. Ireland played Fiji in Dublin Saturday and struggled to beat them a week after they had beaten the Springboks 33-6.I think they used lots of back-up players in this second game - the crowd one imagined quite decent too. Caps were given for the Fiji game but the team only had 2 starters from the South African match.
  4. Ferriol I think had 27yrs when he arrived at the Dragons in 2007 similar with Raguin and Fakir they'd been in the French comp for some time. For the first half of the decade they were just finding their feet and building the club off the field. UTC in the French comp just fulfilling its obligation but nothing more.The Academy is only three years old and already has started to deliver with Yaha and Albert - the latter barely 17 yrs in 2015 when he made his SL debut .The evolution of the U19s and U23s is timely as the NRL option increasingley challenging. Hear that Castleford are setting up dual reg with both Halifax and Newcastle in 2018 - the Dragons have to find their own solutions to these developments across the Channel. Backrower Mickael Goudemond at last finds his way to Perpignan. Yet another Avignon recruit. Will debut this weekend for the Dragons U23s in the '9s' tournament up in Provence where all 10 Elite 1clubs will participate. Be interesting to see how Goudemond applies himself and whether he can realise his potential.
  5. This was Bein Sports television front man Rodophe Pires. Sounded like an interesting idea. Finance being the key for the Pacific teams. Maybe New Caledonia authorities could facilitate such a development. Losing qualifying games for the earlier 4Nations against Wales/Scotland didn't help the Tricolores cause? Denied them valuable competition against the tier 1 nations between the World Cups.
  6. Reported here that Le Cam and Laguerre (P1) expected to get 2 year contracts too. Mourgue (P2) already building up upper-body strength - hopefully will debut late in 2018. Yaha and Albert were the first two Academy players to play SL. Both played little game time with the e U23s.Interesting that France XV v AB played with two half backs of 20yrs/21 yrs.
  7. Ferriol was a complete one off. Guisset left St Esteve as a teenager for Canberra then spent what five years at Warrington. Elima was picked up by Castleford after leading the French Cadets U17s and subsequently played at Wakefield. Its true that France now don't have those types in Elite 1 - young players now go to the Dragons and Toulouse from U17s. Only this past week or so one of the Dragons Academy players has signed for Hull KR. Its a completely different model now.
  8. Margalet has played 26 games in five years at Brutus. Think he's 24 yrs now. Read some where that he would give himself this year to prove his worth - sorted out a few things like diet and how he prepared. As others have mentioned he above all during the back end of the Dragons worse ever season showed up.
  9. Bein Sport television commentator Louis Bonnery quoted in the local paper that it was imperative that a consensus was reached between the Dragons, TO and Elite 1 clubs. Everyone pulling together. In the early days of the Dragons there were problems with the Federation when Larrat and then Zaluendo where at the helm. The former appointed Goulding and the latter Agar. Zaluendo was also against the Dragons forming an Academy team. Under Palanques it looks a lot different with Dragons official Khedimi managing the Tricolores and Catalans loaning out players to Toulouse. These small building blocks are starting to emerge slowly. There's no one magic solution. Palanques and Cologni said pre-tournament that they should be judged on what transpires in 2021.
  10. The times I saw them last year Canet-Boyer pretty decent up-front and with with Rapira coming from Huddersfield and the emerging Sangare should improve them. Barthau captain at London has matured and should work well alongside Robin-Ford. Their 5 representatives at the WC too should return better for the experience. TO are a developing team still youthful but been together for a while now - can only see them getting better. Fingers crossed. The develoment at Stade Minimes taking some time getting off the ground. Planning seemed to have been agreed and notices appeared at the stadium but now this new sign indicates its on the move still. I think 2019 was their expectation of moving back to the city centre location.
  11. See that Krisnan Inu has returned to Perpignan. Is he capable of returning to the form he showed in 2016 I wonder? Feels like a real sea change at Brutus for 2018. No confirmation of coaching assistants still but appointment of a member of the England coaching set-up Richard Hunwick to monitor players performance and working alongside two new French conditioners.Are they looking at a playing group of 30 players with more French players than ever - being the emphasis. The Academy's done well in just three years but the challenge is maybe to continue on with that with the U23s. Bosc and Ambert taking over that group will be challenging. Leeds get their youngsters developing in the Championship at Featherstone - Elite 1 pales in comparison. Was disappointed in Dezaria going to Leigh but playing full-time there in what will be top end Championship out-fit could be the making of him.
  12. The quarter final result in 2013 against England was identical to yesterdays but compare the French teams. Those who played at Wigan four years earlier included Escare, Baile, Duport, Greenshields, Bosc, Fakir,Casty, Elima, Raguin and Mounis - those players in total had maybe 600 Super League games under their belts. Yesterdays contingent would have had around a hundred (for the players no. 1-7) as well as 5 who played in the Elite 1 last season while England ran with three players from the NRL.
  13. Didn’t throw the towel in the French. Garcia deserved his try. Bousquet could have been better. Shame Albert had that try chalked off – he showed up well with the Tricolores only real line brea.k. A whole lot of resolve from a patched-up squad. Something to build on.
  14. France 1 Kheirallah 2 Bergal 3 Ader 4 Jullien 5 Yaha 6 Albert 7 Fages 8 Maria 9 Boudebza 10 Herald 11 Bousquet 12 Garcia 13 Baitieri 14 Rouch 15 Margalet 16 Naverette 17 Belmas/Djalout Garcia doublingup as replacement hooker- 4 forwards on the bench
  15. Hasn't Castany gone to Albi? Gambaro missing from these lists. Thought I picked up somewhere that some of the U19s maybe looked at too if McNamara wants a group of 30 players. Albert debuted at just 17 years old in 2015 - will Mourgue be a possible half-back option in 2018 (will be 19yrs during next campaign). He stood out by all accounts in the recent Tests v England Academy. Goudemand was I think in that French Academy game v England at Carcassonne along with Albert back in 2015. They were the two stand-outs that day. He did try his luck at Toulon XV before establishing himself in Avignon Elite 1 set-up. When I've seen him play he always looks class but playing within himself. He needs I feel to assert himself a bit more. I like to think he would be a player who wouldn't look out of place in a good side. We'll see.