Sporting director is just the start as Catalans Dragons plot ‘major changes’

Catalans Dragons President Bernard Guasch is ringing the changes at Stade Gilbert Brutus after a “season of disappointment” in Super League.

The famously fiery club-owner isn’t happy with this year’s fourth-placed finish and has promised a root and branch review including the appointment of a new sports director and a clear-out of up to twelve players.

Guasch told local media that there would be “major changes” at every level and with nine players released (and more to come) work has already begun on a major rebuild for the 2023 campaign.

The 62-year-old Dragons founder admitted that this season had left him questioning his future at the club. He successfully recovered from a heart attack in February but has since been dismayed by his team’s performances this year.

He said: “I asked the coach to review his philosophy of play for 2023. Except that with the players we had this year, it was perhaps difficult to play another type of rugby.

“We have lacked speed this season. It is for this reason that next season’s threequarter line will be significantly revised.

“We are looking for two new centres who have power and pace to break the line.

“There will be between ten and twelve players leaving at some point, it’s part of the end of the cycle.

“To win the Super League you have to be twice as strong as the others. I understood that so we will try to set up a team to be twice as strong as the others.

“And if we don’t, when I’m fed up, I’ll draw the curtain.”

Guasch has appointed 54-year-old former Scottish rugby union prop forward Neil McIlroy as sports director working alongside coach Steve McNamara and general manager Alex Chan.

McIlroy has spent the past 19 years at French Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne, working his way up from video analyst to team manager.

McIlroy begins his new role on October 1 and he should take some of the pressure off meat processing business-owner President Guasch, who has been acting as Dragons’ Chairman/manager since Chief Executive Christophe Jouffret left the club in 2019.

Changes have already been made after the release of nine players including Sam Kasiano, Gil Dudson (to Warrington Wolves), Samisoni Langi, Dean Whare, Benjamin Jullien and Joe Chan (to NRL side Melbourne Storm).

Corentin Le Cam, Mathieu Cozza and Romain Franco, who all graduated through the Dragons’ junior ranks, have also been released.

Meanwhile, French international centre Arthur Romano has signed a one-year extension.

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