Catalans Dragons appoint Scottish former rugby union player to key role

Catalans Dragons have appointed former Scottish rugby union player Neil McIlroy as sporting director.

McIlroy, 54, has been working in France for two decades at Top14 club Clermont Auvergne, where he left last year.

He is now switching codes and taking up a role in Catalans’ staff from the start of next month, working alongside head coach Steve McNamara and general manager Alex Chan.

Catalans, who were beaten last week in the first round of the play-offs, say that his role will include supervising the rugby department and their player development system.

Dragons owner Bernard Guasch said: “The season we had won’t affect our ambitions. We still want and we still have to improve to achieve our goals, which are winning titles.

“Neil McIlroy helped Clermont to establish as one of the biggest Top 14 clubs. He arrives to bring us his experience and expertise of the professionalism, in particular in the development of young players.”

Catalans head coach Steve McNamara added: “The club’s decision to appoint Neil is one of the best we have made in recent times.

“His world class experience and success at a huge organisation like ASM Clermont, both in the sports and administration departments, will be a huge asset for us.

“He is exactly the type of appointment we have been looking for to help continue the growth of our whole club.”

McIlroy said: “I believe that they can give me what I need at this point in my career and that I can help with the organisation, development and structure at the club.”