ESL ESL - Catalan - News, Signings and Departures

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Date: Saturday, 15 February Kick-off: 17:00 GMT Venue: Stade Gilbert Brutus

Israel Folau could make his Super League debut on Saturday after being named in Catalans Dragons' 21-man squad to face Castleford Tigers in Perpignan.

Cross-code international Folau was sacked by Rugby Australia last year for a homophobic post on social media.

The 30-year-old has been training with the French side for almost two weeks.

He will excel in the ESL.
 

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Catalans Dragons (20) 36
Tries: S Tomkins 3, Folau, Langi, Yaha Goals: Maloney 6
Castleford Tigers (12) 18
Tries: Olpherts, Blair, Clare Goals: Richardson 3

Israel Folau scored six minutes into his Super League debut as Catalans Dragons ended Castleford's 100% start.

In his first league game in 10 years, Folau's try came after catching a high kick and was cheered by the home crowd.

Leading 20-12 at the break the French side impressed in the second half, with Sam Tomkins completing a hat-trick.

It was a first victory of the season for Steve McNamara's team, who were beaten in the opening round by Huddersfield and had their game at Wakefield called off last weekend.
 

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Catalans Dragons prop Julian Bousquet has signed a new three-year deal with the Super League club.

The France international, 28, who has made 171 Super League appearances for Catalans, will remain in Perpignan until the end of the 2023 season.
 

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Catalans (18) 30
Tries: Whitley 2, McIlorum, Yaha, Tierney
Goals: Maloney 4
Salford (0) 14
Tries: Sio 2, Evalds
Goals: Lolohea, Sio

Catalans Dragons kept their heads to win in Perpignan with two late touchdowns after allowing Salford to come from 18-0 down at half-time.

Two first-half tries from Matt Whitley to add to an early score from Wigan old boy Michael McIlorum earned the Dragons a comfortable half-time cushion.

Full-back Niall Evalds crossed, and two tries for winger Ken Sio brought Salford to within a score at 20-14.

But Fouad Yaha and Lewis Tierney came up with match-clinching late tries.

Catalans, who lost two games earlier this season in a weather-hit start, have now won three times in four Super League matches - enough to lift them to sixth, within two points of four-way leaders Leeds Rhinos, Wigan, Castleford and Huddersfield.

Wigan will be the first to reach the 10-point mark this season if they win at home to strugglers Hull KR on Sunday.
 

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Catalans Dragons expect to return to Super League action in "early August", says head coach Steve McNamara.

In that event, they would have to play away games for the first month because of a French government ruling prohibiting sport being played until September.

BBC Sport reported on 21 May that Super League sides are hopeful of playing in front of limited crowds from 1 October.

No Super League games have been played since 15 March because of coronavirus.
 

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Prop Mickael Simon will leave at the end of the 2020 season after deciding to retire from professional rugby league.

The 33-year-old has made 130 league appearances for the French team over two spells.
 

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Wakefield Trinity (0) 0
Catalans Dragons (24) 58
Tries: Whitley 3, Langi 2, Davies 3, Bousquet, Yaha Goals: Maloney 7, S Tomkins 2

French club Catalans Dragons ran in 10 unanswered tries against Wakefield Trinity to go top of Super League.

Two Tom Davies tries and scores from Matt Whitley and Samisoni Langi put Catalans 24-0 up at the break.
 

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Catalans Dragons (22) 34
Tries: J. Tomkins 3, Davies 2, Folau Goals: Maloney 5
Hull KR (0) 4
Try: Livett

Catalans Dragons maintained their push for a Super League play-off place with a straightforward 34-4 win over Hull Kingston Rovers in Perpignan.

The French side had the game won by the break as Joel Tomkins' first-half hat-trick against his former club and a Tom Davies try gave them a 22-0 lead.
 

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Betfred Super League
Catalans Dragons (18) 26
Tries: Davies, Langi, Folau, Mead Goals: Maloney 5
Leeds (6) 14
Tries: A Sutcliffe, L Sutcliffe, Hurrell Goals: Martin

Catalans Dragons booked a Super League semi-final play-off against St Helens next Friday as their first-half blitz proved enough to beat eight-time champions Leeds Rhinos.

Sam Tomkins enjoyed a starring role at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, classily setting up tries for Tom Davies, Samisoni Langi and Israel Folau.

Alex Sutcliffe and Liam Sutcliffe cut the deficit either side of half-time.

But David Mead's try killed it despite Konrad Hurrell's Leeds consolation try.

James Maloney landed all four conversions for Catalans before his late penalty finally stretched the French side out of sight to seal their eliminator play-off victory and reach the last four for the first time since 2014.

Leeds were missing head coach Richard Agar, who was forced to watch from home after a member of the club's coaching staff tested positive for coronavirus.
 

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Catalans Dragons forwards Joel Tomkins and Michael McIlorum have received eight and six game bans respectively for offences in their side's Super League play-off win over Leeds.

Tomkins, 33, was found guilty of 'inappropriate contact' on the backside of Leeds full-back Richie Myler.

McIlorum's six-game ban came from two separate incidents in the match.

He was banned for two games for a high tackle on Brad Dwyer and four more for trying to pick him up while injured.

It is unclear whether either player, who were each also fined £500, will appeal the sanctions.

Both players will miss the Super League play-off semi-final against St Helens on Friday and the Grand Final a week later if Dragons are successful, as well as the first part of the 2021 season.
 

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Catalans Dragons prop Sam Moa has left after four seasons with the Super League club, having not been offered a new contract.
 

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Back-rower Matt Whitley has signed a new two-year contract with Catalans Dragons, having spent two seasons with the Perpignan-based club.

The 24-year-old moved to France from Widnes Vikings for the 2019 season and made the left-side second-row berth his own, scoring 16 tries in 42 games.

In total the England Knights forward has 36 tries in 141 matches, including four seasons at the Vikings.
 

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Catalans Dragons have made their first signing for the 2021 season by bringing forward Mike McMeeken from Castleford.

The 26-year-old England international has signed a two-year contract with the Perpignan club, tying him to the Gilbert Brutus Stadium until 2022.
 

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Catalans Dragons have completed the signing of Salford prop Gil Dudson on a two-year contract.

The 30-year-old Wales international makes the move after turning down a new deal with Red Devils earlier this year.

He helped them reach the Challenge Cup final in October, starting in the narrow defeat by Leeds at Wembley.

Dudson will link up with some former Wigan team-mates at Catalans including Michael McIlorum, Joel and Sam Tomkins, Tom Davies and Lewis Tierney.
 

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Catalans Dragons have said a "family situation" and Covid-19 restrictions are the reasons behind Israel Folau's delayed return to France.

There have been reports the dual-code Australia back has been seeking a rugby union comeback.

Folau, 31, returned to his native country after completing the 2020 season, having signed an extension to remain in Super League for 2021.
 

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Catalans Dragons centre Arthur Romano has been ruled out for the 2021 Super League season after rupturing an anterior cruciate knee ligament.

The 23-year-old was playing for the Dragons' reserve side St Esteve in the French Elite league when he was injured in the 46-24 win over Limoux.

Romano made two appearances last season but was a regular in matchday squads and has three tries in 19 games.

He will have surgery to repair the rupture in Montpellier next month.
 

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Catalans Dragons have signed versatile New Zealand international back Dean Whare on a two-year deal from Penrith.

The 31-year-old, who plays at full-back or on the wing, has scored 40 tries in 155 games during his career and played in the 2013 and 2017 World Cups.