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Wellsy4HullFC

Super XIII - Is It Still Happening in France?

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The Aude is probably my favourite location in France so would be my preference after Toulouse (an absolute necessity).

Once they do admit a second (and hopefully third) French franchise, I really hope they think really carefully about the fixture format.

Wherever possible, English clubs should play their away trips in France on consecutive weeks ( eg, Catalans one week, Toulouse the next). This would help with the logistics of the traveling teams but would also encourage more fans to make the costly trip over (ie, you get a weeks holiday and get to see your team play two games in France).

It would also benefit the French sides and improve their preparation for away games. Win-win.

Thats often been mentioned. Its tough at the moment with fewer fans travelling over the Channel but long term the idea of sides having their annual French Tour taking in two matches on successive weekends could be a major feature each season.

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So the order of preference to entering SL appears to be...

1. Toulouse

2. Avignon

3. Villeneuve/Bordeaux

4. Aude

Would be great to get more French teams in. It's just crucial to get a TV deal arranges to make it happen. It would tap into a huge source if income if it worked.

Wellsy - As I've said those four locations you've mentioned have each drawn 10,000 crowds for either cup finals or test matches in recent times. Certainly Toulouse and Avignon have different markets to tap into the latter 3 hours by train from Perpignan. It would give the game in France a much bigger foot print. The key could well be Bein Sport who presently cover all the Catalans home games. Fingers crossed.

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The Aude is probably my favourite location in France so would be my preference after Toulouse (an absolute necessity).

Once they do admit a second (and hopefully third) French franchise, I really hope they think really carefully about the fixture format.

Wherever possible, English clubs should play their away trips in France on consecutive weeks ( eg, Catalans one week, Toulouse the next). This would help with the logistics of the traveling teams but would also encourage more fans to make the costly trip over (ie, you get a weeks holiday and get to see your team play two games in France).

It would also benefit the French sides and improve their preparation for away games. Win-win.

I can certainly live with that.. B)

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Got a pretty good grasp on things there.

For the moment they wont touch the Aude I think because its in the Dragons catchment area.

Toulouse would be looking to the Tarn and Albi for its support. Albi pulled 10,000 for the Wales European Cup match a couple of seasons back. Also would attract people further west towards Villeneuve and may be as far as Bordeaux. I saw a match against GB in Agen in 2002 with 10,000 present. So there's potential there.

Avignon is the best bet after Toulouse. Vaucluse has what 400,000 population. There is no top class union or soccer in that department and of course the local Parc der Sports will host the NZ world cup game in November after attracting 16,000 against England two years back. Sporting Olympique Avignon have only been back in the top division for 3 years and have reached the final of the Lord Derby Coupe which they havent won since 1989. They also have decent Juniors providing half of the national team which played England Schools last year.

Zalduendo the French President is keen I think to get St Gaudens back in after folding two years back after being Champions of Elite 1 only eight years ago. If that happens then some joined up thinking in the Tarn could work with an entente between Lescure, Albi and Realmont forming a UTT - union treize tarnais like what happened in Perpignan with Catalans.

The other good piece of news is that there appears some thing at long last coming out of Roanne - once one of the best clubs in France. They nearly disappeared but now doing well back in National 1 - 3rd tier and qualified for the this years play offs.

The two best sides outside Elite 1 are probably Baho and Palau two villages at the side of Perpignan who are presently holding down first two places on the Elite 2 ladder. Palau have two young lads there playing well below what they capable of - half back Marginet was playing in Super League two seasons back but as a club have no structure whereas Baho do. But the Federation dont want either I think. They want a bigger foot print and would love to see the likes of Roanne and Lyon back up there.

If they ever got Toulouse and Avignon playing Super League alongside Catalans that would have some chance of making a break through over here. It could create six French derbys and that could make the media sit up.

Of course Toulouse and Avignon would be the next options for SL, but you cannot underestimate the Aquitaine region. Villenueve sits within the same catchment area as Agen in Lot-et-Garonne which is fairly large and as you've mentioned 10,000 paying fans turned up for a test against GB a few years back. The Stade Armandie is just down the road and is perfect for an Aquitaine Super League rugby team.

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Can't say I'm easy with the mayor of lezignan not allowing the creation of a union team, could you imagine the outcry if a mayor refused the creation of a league team in any other village/town and city?

I'm more than easy with it, chickens coming home to roost and what have you

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would go with an 8 team league of Avignon, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Grenoble, Marseille, Montpellier, Perpignan and Toulouse.All these places have some rugby league history. Play each other three times for 21 rounds with one being a magic week end giving each team 10 home games. Top four make the play offs 1 v 4 and 2 v 3 .

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If three or four French teams enter SL does this mean three or four British teams are removed? This would seem to be a very drastic pruning of SL, some of which clubs re making significant progress ( Salford,Hull KR) to be replaced with French teams that are no means guaranteed to be any more successful than those British teams they replace and who might not be much of a draw to british spectators. A French conference as part of SL however could be successful if the money could be found.

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If three or four French teams enter SL does this mean three or four British teams are removed? This would seem to be a very drastic pruning of SL, some of which clubs re making significant progress ( Salford,Hull KR) to be replaced with French teams that are no means guaranteed to be any more successful than those British teams they replace and who might not be much of a draw to british spectators. A French conference as part of SL however could be successful if the money could be found.

We've been at this Superleague thing 17 years and some clubs are still making "significant progress"??.

Sadly only certain clubs have sorted themselves out into fully pro outfits, and London aren't one of them.

If London go I can't see a retreat to the M62, as Canetman says the bullet may be bit and Toulouse come in without a TV deal.

It's all about money (yawn I know) but if you read the posts above France has a lot of paying spectators to capture, and if the game turns round there it has an International opposition to offer GB, and a second major player pool.

That's the prize, the cost will be thinning out clubs along the M62 and whilst the exit of a couple may be VERY sad I know their near Neighbours won't mind picking up a few more resources for themselves.

Will a move to an Anglo French competition work? Well we'll see in 17 years time when we may be beset with just as many problems only different ones!!

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