Catalans Dragons expand capacity at Stade Gilbert Brutus home for rest of season

CATALANS want to fill their Stade Gilbert Brutus home to bursting point before the stadium is rebuilt at the end of the season.

Plans to renovate and extend the 62–year-old ground have been approved in a £15m local authority-funded scheme and the club wants to maximise all available space until building work starts.

With a series of successive home games over the next three weeks (St Helens, Huddersfield in the Challenge Cup and Hull KR) the club has hired two temporary metal bleachers either side of the Guasch stand to provide an additional 1,000 seats for spectators.

Both stands are already full for the blockbuster match against St Helens this Saturday.

The stands will remain in place until October when the building work begins on a new stand that will connect the Tribune Puig Aubert (away end) continuously to the swimming pool end of the ground.

The Dragons are preparing for large crowds that will test the Brutus’ 12,000 capacity and, with all games being televised live on Sky Sports, plus additional coverage by the BBC, the club’s commercial manager Christophe Levy is relishing the extra publicity and attention it should bring.

He told Perpignan’s L’Indépendant newspaper: “It’s a massive spotlight for the club, the city and the region over the next three Saturdays.

“It’s just huge for us to have this international exposure. The Dragons’ brand is attracting more and more attention and it’s unheard of for us to have three live broadcasts on the BBC, which is the British public channel.”

Meanwhile, the club has given a one-season contract to 22-year-old French prop Damel Diakhate following his release by Hull FC.

The former Villeneuve and Albi French championship player faced the Dragons last season in a pre-season game at Stade Brutus.

Diakhate said: “As a French player, it has always been a goal of mine to join this club. Now I have to work hard and earn my spot at the top level.”

Catalans coach Steve McNamara added: “We are very happy to give Damel an opportunity. 

“It’s difficult to get to the level of Super League standard but I feel he will be given the best opportunity here. 

“Being in and around French players and coaches that can communicate clearly and help him will assist greatly.

“I know he has a desire to work hard and we look forward to working with him.”