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The Catalans Dragons (sometimes referred to as Les Catalans or the Dragons) are a professional rugby league club based in Perpignanmarker, Francemarker. They play in the European Super League and, as UTC, the French Elite One Championship competitions and even though the club was only recently formed they have to date achieved a championship title in 2005 and two consecutive Lord Derby Cups in 2004 and 2005 as well as contesting the English Challenge Cup Final in 2007.

History

The club was founded in 2001 in Perpignan, France, under the name "Union Treiziste Catalan"; following the merger of the successful XIII Catalan club and close neighbours Saint Estève, and they continue to play in the French Championship under this name, which is often abbreviated to UTC.

They were granted admission into the European Super League, the highest tier of professional rugby league in Europe, in Super League XI, the 2006 season.

XIII Catalan were founded in 1935, and thus were founding members of the French rugby league championship. AS Saint Estève were founded in 1965. Both teams were from Perpignan, in the Catalanmarker region of France.

In 2001 the LER should have had four Perpignan teams out of the twelve in the comp.Pia, SC, XIII Catalan and St Estève. In the first year of UTC games were played alternatively at St Esteve and the Stade Jean Laffont (home of XIII Catalan). In 2002, St Cyprien joined the merged UTC side.

They were selected ahead of Toulouse and Villeneuve to enter the Super League in 2006. It is hoped that they will form the backbone of the national team. The club set its target that 75% of the players will be qualified to play for France. This is not be the first time that a French side has played in the Super League, though the first attempt, Paris Saint Germain, lasted only two seasons. Part of Paris' problem was that both codes of rugby have their stronghold in the south of France, while the north of France is more soccer friendly. Another problem was that their players were on loan from French league clubs and had to play for their own clubs as well, training in the south before undertaking the long journey to Paris or England for matches.
Catalans Dragons logo used in 2006 and 2007.
To ensure that Catalans Dragons had the best French players available to them the French rugby league decided that they could sign players from other French clubs without paying a transfer fee. They were also been promised that they will not be relegated from the Super League for three years even if they finish bottom. Many believe that Catalans Dragons will be joined by other French clubs in the Super League though the whole idea of expanding into France is not without its critics among supporters of smaller British rugby league clubs. Catalans Dragons won their first ever Super League match 38-30 against Wigan Warriors on Saturday 11 February 2006 at Stade Aimé Giralmarker. The club encountered a predictable steep learning curve in their first season in Super League with many of the less experienced French players running out of steam towards the end of a gruelling, injury marred campaign. A particular loss was that of key playmaker and Captain Stacey Jones who missed much of the season with a broken arm. They eventually finished bottom of the table, but due to their 3-year exemption from relegation remained in Super League.

2007 saw strong recruitment by new coach Mick Potter with a string of high-profile signings from Australia including Clint Greenshields, Casey McGuire, Jason Croker and Aaron Gorrell, all seasoned NRL campaigners. Gorrell, a goalkicking hooker, in particular impressed in the first month but unfortunately sustained a bad knee injury in February's win over Leeds and missed the rest of the season. On 10 March 2007 it was announced Newcastle Knights hooker Luke Quigley would cover Gorrell's absence for the remainder of the campaign but a number of players sustained injuries throughout the campaign. Young stars Dimitri Pelo and Vincent Duport in the backs impressed, and show real promise for the future and for young talent in France in general. Recent addition to the fold at the Catalan Dragons is former Canberra Raiders, Melbourne Storm and Parramatta Eels Halfback Andrew McFadden who is now their Assistant Coach. Andrew said upon signing with the Dragons that he was doing it for his cousin, former prop Joe McCarthy, who was his "shining light".

On July 29, 2007, the Dragons became the first Frenchmarker side and first non-English side to reach the final of the Challenge Cup after beating Wigan Warriors 37-24 in the semi final. Catalans lost the 2007 Challenge Cup Final with St Helens at Wembley Stadiummarker on August 25, 2007. They also managed to finish the 2007 season off the bottom of the table, ending the season in a respectable 10th place.

In 2008, the Dragons secured their first play-off berth, finishing third on the league ladder largely on the back of a ferocious forward pack. They smashed Warrington 46–8 in their first-ever play-off match on 13 September in Perpignan, but on 20 September saw Wigan blow open what had been a close game in the second half of their elimination semifinal, with Wigan ultimately winning 50–26.

Coach Mick Potter left the Dragons at the end of the 2008 season to replace Daniel Anderson at St Helens. He has been replaced by fellow Australian Kevin Walters. Recruitment for 2009 has been the most exciting to date of the Super League clubs and includes Stephen Bell and Kangaroo Jason Ryles, replacing the retiring John 'Sargeant' Wilson and Alex 'Super' Chan. The Dragon also recruited Greg Bird who were due to sign with the Bradford Bulls after his visa got refused by the UK authorities.

In 2009, the club was involved in two historic milestones for the sport of rugby league in Europe. During their match away to the Welshmarker club Celtic Crusaders on 23 May, the two clubs played the first European Super League match to not feature an Englishmarker team. History was also created on 20 June when the club played in the first Super League game ever to be played in Spain, at Barcelonamarker's Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companysmarker, the venue for the 1992 Summer Olympics, against the Warrington Wolves. The Dragons led 10–6 at half-time, but Warrington finished as the winners 12–24. The purpose of the latter fixture was to promote the sport in Cataloniamarker, with around one thousand tickets being sold in the local area, and the game itself being televised on a Spanish network. Immediately after the game, Walters commented that the event to Spain could possibly become an annual one, apparently complimenting comments made by the club's general manager about using a new high-speed link between Perpignan and Spain, which was due to commence running some time in the two years after.

2010 Squad

the 2009 squad at Headingley.
Although other players may play for the Catalans Dragons during the year, all Super League clubs are required to select a First Grade squad at the beginning of the season. Below is the list submitted for 2010.

Nat No Player Position App Tries Goals DG Points
1 Clint Greenshields Fullback 0 0 0 0 0
2 Cyril Stacul Wing 0 0 0 0 0
3 Steven Bell Centre 0 0 0 0 0
4 Adam Mogg Centre 0 0 0 0 0
5 Dimitri Pelo Wing 0 0 0 0 0
6 Setaimata Sa Stand Off 0 0 0 0 0
7 Thomas Bosc Scrum Half 0 0 0 0 0
8 David Ferriol Prop 0 0 0 0 0
9 Casey McGuire Hooker 0 0 0 0 0
10 Jérôme Guisset Prop 0 0 0 0 0
11 Sébastien Raguin Second Row 0 0 0 0 0
12 Jason Croker Second Row 0 0 0 0 0
13 Grégory Mounis Loose Forward 0 0 0 0 0
14 Dane Carlaw Utility 0 0 0 0 0
15 Jean-Philippe Baile Second Row 0 0 0 0 0
16 Olivier Elima Second Row 0 0 0 0 0
17 Cyril Gossard Second Row 0 0 0 0 0
18 Vincent Duport Centre 0 0 0 0 0
19 Julien Touxagas Second Row 0 0 0 0 0
20 Kane Bentley Hooker 0 0 0 0 0
21 Florian Quintilla Scrum Half 0 0 0 0 0
22 Jamal Fakir Prop 0 0 0 0 0
23 Dallas Johnson Loose Forward 0 0 0 0 0
24 Rémi Casty Prop 0 0 0 0 0
25 Frédéric Vaccari Wing 0 0 0 0 0
26 Greg Bird Stand Off 0 0 0 0 0
00 Andrew Bentley Loose Forward 0 0 0 0 0
00 Sebastien Martins Second Row 0 0 0 0 0
27 David Guasch Stand Off 0 0 0 0 0
28 William Barthau Scrum Half 0 0 0 0 0
29 Mickael Simon Second Row 0 0 0 0 0
30 Mathias Pala Full Back 0 0 0 0 0
31 Romain Mencarini Prop 0 0 0 0 0
32 Vincent Pagès Center 0 0 0 0 0
33 Michaël Tribillac Second Row 0 0 0 0 0


2009 Signings/Transfers

Gains
Signings
Player Previous Club Years Signed Until the End of
Steven Bell Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Shane Perry Brisbane Broncos
Jason Ryles St. George Illawarra Dragons
Frédéric Vaccari Toulouse Olympique


Losses
Losses
Player Signed for When left
John Wilson Oct 2008
Aaron Gorrell Brisbane Broncos Oct 2008
Mathieu Griffi Oct 2008
Alex Chan Oct 2008
Younes Khattabi Oct 2008
Justin Murphy Oct 2008


Honours



Footnotes

References



External links




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