Catalans given permission to start U19 team

Catalans Dragons have been given permission by Super League and the RFL to enter a team in the league’s under-19s system starting from next season.

The Perpignan club, who are in their 10th season in Super League, have spent a season playing friendlies against other academy teams and say the move, approved at the Super League annual meeting in Manchester, will boost the game in France.

Catalans chief executive Christophe Jouffret said: “It’s great news and a great reward after all the efforts done by the club over the last few years.

“The Under-19s team will help us to meet both the quota player obligations and to increase the number of French players that will benefit not only the Catalans Dragons but also French rugby league.”

The Dragons have this season blooded Under-19s winger Fouad Yaha, who at 18 became the club’s youngest player to appear in Super League.

Dragons chairman Bernard Guasch said: “This is a new step forward for our club and we’ll now be able to produce more home-grown players.”