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French Roosters U20/Catalans Academy U18

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These two sides are presently in action. Catalans U18 played four friendlies last season but this year will play in the official Valvoline Academy C Group along with Hull FC, Salford, Huddersfield and the Crusaders who they will play home and away. They beat the Welsh lads last weekend 37-30 at Gilbert Brutus before the Dragons SL game. All the Catalan side come from the junior clubs in and around Perpignan.

The Roosters on the other hand are run and funded by the French Federation. It is their first year and have started playing friendlies against other SL clubs Valvoline Cup teams - think they've got eight matches lined up this year. Most the lads playing in this team have played senior football with French first division clubs. The squad has around 35 players and the idea is that most lads get to play on average 3-4 games.

They've so far drawn at Cas, wins against Hull FC and Trinity and lost to Saints, Wigan and Warrington. Saturday against the comp leaders Warrington 40-20 at Aime-Giral before the Dragons game. Super match. The lad who stood out for me was a young scrum half named Robin from Villeneuve. The week before this lad ran the length of the field at Knowsley road for a try. Got another this weekend too showing good anticipation and speed off the mark. Hope he makes it. There's a Lezignan centre Cardace who's got class and pace too. Ran around the Wigan full back last week in style.

This set-up is also based in Perpignan and travel away with the Dragons. The lads from out of town are billeted in local youth hostel so as to prepare for each game. These two projects running in tandem are the future of the game here and are the most significant developments to me since the Dragons arrived in 2006.

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