McNamara praises Catalans fans for making ‘huge efforts’ to get to Wembley

Catalans coach Steve McNamara has praised the club’s supporters for the efforts they are making to get across the Channel and get to Wembley for this Saturday’s Challenge Cup final.

Around 3,000 Dragons fans are expected to be in London for the final – despite August traditionally being a notoriously-difficult month for travel. The month of August in France is traditionally associated with large parts of the country ‘shutting down’, as many go away for their summer breaks.

That, plus what McNamara describes as ‘extortionate’ travel costs have inevitably reduced the number of travelling fans coming from France – but the Dragons boss has heaped praise on the French fans.

“Don’t you worry about them making a noise this weekend,” he said.

“They’re very passionate, and they’re making a huge effort to get across to England for the final. The expense is extortionate for them – I truly don’t know how the working-class people do it.

“Every single day we train on the field at (Stade Gilbert) Brutus and the loyal fans who’ve been there since February have seen numbers grow dramatically. Over the last couple of weeks it’s gone a bit mad, and we’re excited for them and excited for the opportunity.”

McNamara also reiterated his stance that winning the trophy would be huge not just for French rugby, but for the sport in general.

“It’s massive,” he said. “It would be brilliant for us in France of course, but a French team winning an English competition? That would draw some serious headlines in England too, I think.

“That’s something everyone involved with Catalans is targeting.”