McNamara proposes idea of Challenge Cup semi double-header being hosted in France

Catalans Dragons coach Steve McNamara admits he can’t wait for him and his side to be part of the Challenge Cup’s first semi-final double-header after booking their place in the last four – but has suggested the possibility of moving the concept to France one year if it catches on.

Les Dracs won 20-6 at Huddersfield to ensure they will be playing at Bolton on August 5th in the double-header – with Catalans now just one win away from the second Wembley final in their short history.

And while McNamara admits he thinks the double-header idea is a great move by the RFL, he has proposed the idea of holding it in the south of France in the coming years should it be a success.

“The club deserves this,” he said.

“They’ve worked extremely hard and it’ll be a really good occasion. It’s a really exciting concept, having two games in one day – and we want to be part of that.

“But why can’t another team travel to France to play us one year? I’m not suggesting having it in Perpignan; maybe somewhere like Narbonne or Montpellier, so it’s still a neutral venue. We’d fill a stadium in the middle of summer over there – but maybe that’s an idea for next year now. Catalans have never won a trophy – to be part of something that could be a first would be incredible.”

McNamara was also in particular praise of centre Brayden Wiliame, who only landed in England hours before kick-off having missed the full week’s training following a family bereavement back home.

“I’ve got to make a special mention to Brayden,” he said.

“His grandma passed away last week, someone he was very close to. He flew home on Sunday after our game on Saturday (against Leeds) and only arrived in Manchester at 12pm today. He went there and back in a couple of days.. he was desperate to play. It was a tough call for me but he was fantastic.”

Catalans will discover their semi-final opponents after Sunday’s game between St Helens and Hull FC, when the draw for the last four is made.