Super League: Catalans Dragons head coach Steve McNamara on what French clubs add to rugby league | rugby league news

The Catalans' head coach Steve McNamara has no doubts about the value of French clubs in the Super League

The Catalans’ head coach Steve McNamara has no doubts about the value of French clubs in the Super League

Steve McNamara’s rugby league career took him from representing his hometown of Hull to playing and coaching internationally, and experiencing life in Australia, New Zealand and now France.

Given his extensive experience of the sport both on these shores and around the world, it is perhaps unsurprising that the Catalans Dragons head coach has an expansionist view when it comes to what to do to ensure the game thrives at home. and abroad.

Indeed, McNamara launched an impassioned defense of both the Dragons and Toulouse Olympique’s presence in the Betfred Super League following their win over Huddersfield Giants last month. However, he believes it is about more than just helping rugby league in France.

Steve McNamara and Jamie Jones-Buchanan discuss having French rugby league clubs in the Super League and why it's a good thing for the sport.

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Steve McNamara and Jamie Jones-Buchanan discuss having French rugby league clubs in the Super League and why it’s a good thing for the sport.

Steve McNamara and Jamie Jones-Buchanan discuss having French rugby league clubs in the Super League and why it’s a good thing for the sport.

“I don’t think it’s about French rugby league, I think it’s about rugby league in general,” McNamara said. sky sports when he appeared as a guest expert during the trip from Toulouse to Warrington Wolves in Round 23.

“Throughout the game, we’ve been doing a lot of similar things for a number of years, and we’ve got a fantastic product out there.

“Of course, I have my own interest in France, but I also see what happened throughout the game in France.

“I am very passionate about the investment that French clubs have made in France and the potential government funding that can come from it.”

Toulouse boss Cedric Garcia says the participation of French teams in the Super League can only benefit the competition

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Toulouse boss Cedric Garcia says the participation of French teams in the Super League can only benefit the competition

Toulouse boss Cedric Garcia says the participation of French teams in the Super League can only benefit the competition

The Catalans’ introduction to the Super League for the 2006 season came nine years after Paris Saint-Germain’s failed experiment ended and has been an example of successful expansion, with the Perpignan-based club making history by lifting the Challenge Cup in 2018.

That was followed by the League Leaders’ Shield title and reaching the Super League Grand Final for the first time in 2021, being beaten 12-10 by St Helens at Old Trafford, with Toulouse becoming only the second French team in the competition after to win promotion. from the Betfred Championship last year.

Former England head coach McNamara insists it is not just at club level where support is also needed, citing the need for the French national team to play regularly and believing Les Chanticleers are capable of providing competitive opposition.

β€œIn the short 16 or 17 years as a club, the Catalans Dragons have done as much as some of the clubs in the competition at the moment and there is potential for them to go even further as well,” said McNamara.

In short 16 or 17 years as a club, Catalans Dragons have done as much as some of the clubs in the competition at the moment and there is also potential for them to go even further.

Steve McNamara

“I think the international game is also the biggest. When I was the manager of the England team, we had to do a game against the Exiles, as they were then.

“The French team now, if they have their best players on the pitch, and I’ve worked with most of them every day, it should be a competitive game.

“The game needs a whole new, fresh look at what it’s about to do and how we’re going to do it.”

On the pitch on Saturday, the Catalans host a Salford Red Devils team overseen by Paul Rowley, who was involved in rugby league’s efforts to expand the professional game in North America as Toronto’s first head coach. Wolfpack.

And while securing a top-four finish and perhaps even overtaking Huddersfield in third place before the end of the regular season is on McNamara’s mind, the 50-year-old wants to see a more collaborative approach around the world to keep rugby. league growing.

“We are a small game in terms of the whole world and clearly there is a difference in terms of finances, facilities and available players,” McNamara said.

“But if there’s a real collective drive to work together, then we can produce something really special. We can only do what we can do on the field and then we need everyone else’s help and support to make more money.”

“But what’s happening right now on the Dragons in a short period of 16 or 17 years is pretty phenomenal.”

named squads

Catalan Dragons: Arthur Mourgue, Tom Davies, Samisoni Langi, Dean Whare, Fouad Yaha, Josh Drinkwater, Gil Dudson, Micky McIlorum, Benjamin Garcia, Alrix Da Costa, Paul Seguier, Mickael Goudemand, Matthieu Laguerre, Tyrone May, Corentin Le Cam, Dylan Napa, Mathieu Cozza, Cesar Rouge, Romain Franco, Joe Chan, Sam Tomkins.

Salford Red Devils: Ryan Brierley, Ken Sio, Kallum Watkins, Tim Lafai, Joe Burgess, Brodie Croft, Marc Sneyd, Sitaleki Akauola, Andy Ackers, Elijah Taylor, Ryan Lannon, Chris Atkin, Jack Ormondroyd, Rhys Williams, Sam Luckley, Amir Bourouh, Deon Cross , Alex Gerrard, Tyler Dupree.

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