Catalans Dragons

Last updated

Catalans Dragons
Catalans Dragons logo 2008.png
Club information
Full nameCatalans Dragons XIII
Nickname(s)The Dragons
Short nameCatalans Dragons
Colours Catalanscolours.svg White, Red and Gold
Founded2000;21 years ago (2000)
Website catalansdragons.com
Current details
Ground(s)
Chairman Bernard Guasch
Coach Steve McNamara
Captain Benjamin Garcia
Competition Super League
2020 season Regular Season: 4th
Play Offs: Semi Final
Rugby football current event.png Current season
Uniforms
Kit left arm goldborder.png
Kit left arm.svg
Kit body pdrlrc2017h.png
Kit body.svg
Kit right arm goldborder.png
Kit right arm.svg
Kit shorts.svg
Kit socks redtop.png
Kit socks long.svg
Home colours
Kit left arm goldborder.png
Kit left arm.svg
Kit body yellow red V.png
Kit body.svg
Kit right arm goldborder.png
Kit right arm.svg
Kit shorts.svg
Kit socks long.svg
Away colours
Kit left arm goldborder.png
Kit left arm.svg
Kit body navystripes.png
Kit body.svg
Kit right arm goldborder.png
Kit right arm.svg
Kit shorts.svg
Kit socks goldtop.png
Kit socks long.svg
Third colours
Records
French Championships 1 (2004–05)
British Championships 0
League Leaders' Shields 1 (2021)
Challenge Cups 1 (2018)
Other honours 6

The Catalans Dragons (French and Catalan: Dragons Catalans) are a professional rugby league club from Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales department, France. The team competes in the Super League, they are currently the only team in the top-tier competition from outside England. The Dragons play regular home games at Stade Gilbert Brutus in the centre of the city. Catalans Dragons are the first non-British team to win the Challenge Cup since the competition started in 1896, after beating Warrington Wolves 20–14 at Wembley Stadium on 25 August 2018.

Contents

The club was formed in 2000 by a merger of XIII Catalan and AS Saint-Estève into Union Treiziste Catalane (UTC). They won the 2005 French Championship and the Lord Derby Cup in 2004 and 2005. In 2006, they were granted a Super League licence, taking the name Catalans Dragons. UTC continues to compete in the French Championship's Elite One Championship as a feeder club for the Dragons, now under the name Saint-Estève XIII Catalan.

History

2000–2004: foundation

The club was founded in 2000 after the merger of two teams in Perpignan, XIII Catalan and AS Saint Estève. The merged team took the name Union Treiziste Catalane, often abbreviated to UTC.

XIII Catalan were founded in 1935 and thus were founding members of the French Championship. During their run, they won 11 French Championships and 11 Lord Derby Cups. AS Saint-Estève were founded in 1965. They won six championships and four Lord Derby Cups. There were two other clubs in the twelve-team competition in Pyrénées-Orientales: Pia XIII and Saint-Cyprien. In 2002 Saint-Cyprien joined the merged UTC side. UTC won the 2005 French Championship and the 2004 and 2005 Lord Derby Cups.

2005–2007: Super League and Challenge Cup final

In 2005, UTC applied to join the Super League, the highest tier of professional rugby league in Europe. They were selected ahead of Toulouse Olympique and Villeneuve Leopards to enter the league for the 2006 season. The franchise was named Catalans Dragons; UTC remained in the French Championship to serve as a reserve club. The club set a target for 75% of the players be qualified to play for France.

The Catalans are not the first French side to play in the Super League, but the first, Paris Saint-Germain, lasted only two seasons. Both rugby codes have their stronghold in the southwest of France, and the north of France is more football-friendly. Players on loan from French league clubs had to play for their own clubs as well, train in the south and take the long journey to Paris or England for matches.

Catalans Dragons logo used in 2006 and 2007. LesCatalansdragonslogo.png
Catalans Dragons logo used in 2006 and 2007.

To ensure that the Catalans had the best French players available to them, the French rugby league decided to let them sign players from other French clubs without paying a transfer fee. The league also would not relegate them from the Super League for three years, even if they finished last. Many[ who? ] believe that the Catalans will be joined by other French clubs in the Super League,[ citation needed ] but the whole idea of expanding into France had critics. The Catalans won their first ever Super League match 38–30 against Wigan on 11 February 2006, at Stade Aimé Giral. The club encountered a steep learning curve in their first season in the Super League. Many of less experienced French players suffered from tiredness 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. The team eventually finished bottom of the table, but the three-year exemption from relegation kept them in the Super League.

Catalans Dragons during their first Challenge Cup Final in 2007 at Wembley Stadium. St Helens Catalans.jpg
Catalans Dragons during their first Challenge Cup Final in 2007 at Wembley Stadium.

The year 2007 saw a 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', impressed in the first month but 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 that 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.

On 29 July 2007, the Catalans became the first French side and first non-British side to reach the final of the Challenge Cup after beating Wigan 37–24 in the semifinal. The Catalans lost the 2007 Challenge Cup Final with St. Helens at Wembley Stadium on 25 August 2007. They also managed to finish the 2007 season off the bottom of the table, ending the season in a respectable tenth place.

2008–2017: playoffs and progression

The Catalans Dragons team playing at Gilbert Brutus in 2009 DragonsCatalans2009.jpg
The Catalans Dragons team playing at Gilbert Brutus in 2009

In 2008, the Catalans secured their first playoff berth by finishing third on the league ladder largely on the back of a ferocious forward pack. They smashed Warrington 46–8 in their first-ever playoff match on 13 September in Perpignan, but 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.

The Catalans Dragons supporters at Headingley in Leeds, England. Catalan Dragon supporters at Headingley.jpg
The Catalans Dragons supporters at Headingley in Leeds, England.

In 2009, they were involved in two historic milestones for the sport of rugby league in Europe. During their match away to the Welsh club Crusaders on 23 May, the two clubs played the first Super League match to not feature an English team. [1] History was also created on 20 June, when the club played in the first Super League game to be played in Spain, at Barcelona's Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, the venue for the 1992 Summer Olympics, against Warrington. The Dragons led 10–6 at halftime, but Warrington finished as the winners 12–24. [2] The purpose of the latter fixture was to promote the sport in Catalonia, with around 1000 tickets being sold in the local area, and the game was televised on the Catalan channel El 33. [3] Immediately after the game, Walters commented that the event in Spain could become an annual one, [2] apparently complementing comments made by the club's general manager about using a new high-speed link between Perpignan and Spain, supposed to start running within two years. [3]

In 2016 Catalans Dragons celebrated ten years in the Super League competition. After a recruitment drive, which saw a number of transfers from the NRL, expectations were high. After opening defeats to Wigan and Hull FC, the Dragons edged Leeds 32–28 in round three and then took seven wins from their next eight matches. Following their 42–32 win over Salford at the end of April, Laurent Frayssinous' side sat second in the table, level on points with leaders Warrington. However, a series of injury setbacks to key players in the second half of the season saw them drop down the table. Catalans lost their final six regular season games which meant they headed into the Super 8s two points adrift of fourth-placed St Helens. Five defeats from seven saw them finish the season in sixth place and miss out on a play-off spot. After a difficult two years at Huddersfield, Jodie Broughton's move to the south of France saw him kick-start his career. The winger scored 19 tries in 2016 including four in the Dragons' 30–12 win over St Helens in April. Todd Carney was released after two seasons at Catalans. [4]

2018–present: Success

On 25 August 2018, Catalans Dragons won their first Rugby League trophy, after defeating Warrington Wolves 20-14 in the 2018 Challenge Cup Final, in the process becoming the first non-English team to win the competition in its long, illustrious history. [5] [6]

During the 2019 season, Catalans Dragons held their home match against Wigan Warriors at the Camp Nou in Barcelona. The match was the first Super League game in Spain and attracted a record attendance for a Super League game outside of the Grand Final of 31,555. The game resulted in a 33–16 victory for the Dragons. [7]

On 28 January 2020, Catalans Dragons announced that they had signed Israel Folau despite him holding to the Biblical teaching that those who practice homosexuality without repenting will go to hell (going so far as to suggest that the 2019–20 Australian bushfires were God's judgment on Australia for allowing same sex marriage and abortion). [8] Wigan Warriors responded by saying that their next game against Catalans would be named Pride Day. [9]

In 2021, The Dragon won Super League's League Leaders' Shield for the first time, following a 31–30 golden point extra time victory over reining champions St Helens during Magic Weekend.

Stadiums

Stade Aimé Giral: 2006–2007

Stade Aime Giral Aimegiral.jpg
Stade Aimé Giral

The Catalans moved into the stadium in 2006, when they were accepted into Super League. They ground shared with rugby union side USA Perpignan, which own and operate the stadium, but it is a multipurpose stadium used occasionally for other sports and events.

Stade Gilbert Brutus: 2007–present

The Stade Gilbert Brutus was opened in 1962 and has hosted mostly rugby league and union and hosted numerous test matches involving the French national team. It was previously the home to Northern Catalonia rugby league team. When the Dragons moved in the capacity was just over 4000. The Catalans have redeveloped and expanded the ground to 13,000 since they moved here.

Stade Gilbert Brutus Stade Gilbert Brutus 11112013.jpg
Stade Gilbert Brutus

Kit sponsors and manufacturers

YearKit ManufacturerMain Shirt Sponsor
2000–2008 ISC none
2009 Nike IDEC
2010–2011 ISC Seafrance
2012–2018 la Region
2019- O'Neills

2021 squad

2021 Catalans Dragons Squad
First team squadCoaching staff

Head coach

Assistant coach


Legend:
  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice captain(s)

Updated: 3 March 2021
Source(s): 2021 Squad Numbers

2021 transfers

Gains

PlayerClubContractDate
Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Gil Dudson Redscolours.svg Salford Red Devils 2 YearsMarch 2020 [10]
Flag of England.svg Mike McMeeken Castleford colours.svg Castleford Tigers 3 YearsJune 2020 [11]
Flag of New Zealand.svg Dean Whare Penrith Panthers square flag icon with 2017 colours.svg Penrith Panthers 2 YearsFebruary 2021 [12]

Losses

PlayerClubContractDate
Flag of France.svg Antoni Maria FC Lézignan 1 YearJuly 2020 [13]
Flag of Tonga.svg Sam Moa FC Lézignan 1 YearNovember 2020 [14]
Flag of France.svg Mickaël Simon AS Carcassonne November 2020 [15]
Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg David Mead Brisbane Broncos 2 YearsNovember 2020 [16]
Flag of France.svg Remi Casty Toulouse Olympique N/ANovember 2020 [17]
Flag of France.svg Lucas Albert AS Carcassone 1 YearNovember 2020 [18]
Flag of France.svg Gavin Marguerite Villeneuve Leopards 1 YearDecember 2020 [19]
Flag of Scotland.svg Lewis Tierney Leigh Centurions 2 YearsDecember 2020 [20]

Players

Coaches

NameFromToPWDLWin %
Flag of England.svg Steve Deakin 2007
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Mick Potter 20072008894134546%
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Kevin Walters 20092010572103637%
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Trent Robinson 20112012633712559%
Flag of France.svg Laurent Frayssinous 201320171396666747%
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Michael Monaghan (interim)2017 %
Flag of England.svg Steve McNamara 2017present %

Seasons

Honours

Catalans celebrating winning the Challenge Cup for the first time in 2018 Challenge Cup Final Winners 2018.jpg
Catalans celebrating winning the Challenge Cup for the first time in 2018

League

Grand Final:
Winners (1): 2004–05
Runners-up (2): 2001–02, 2003–04
League Leaders (2): 2003–04, 2004–05
Winners (1): 2021

Cups

Winners (3): 2000–01, 2003–04, 2004–05
Winners (1): 2018
Runners-up (1): 2007

Other

Winners (1): 2017

See also

Related Research Articles

XIII Catalan Defunct French rugby league club

XIII Catalan were a semi professional rugby league team from Perpignan in the Pyrénées-Orientales region of southern France. They were founded in 1934, and thus were founding members of the French rugby league championship. In 2000 they merged with nearby neighbours AS Saint Estève to form Union Treiziste Catalane, now better known in the English-speaking world by their Super League identity of Catalans Dragons.

Saint-Estève XIII Mavericks French semi-professional rugby league club

Saint-Estève XIII Mavericks are a French Rugby league side based in Saint-Estève near Perpignan in the département of Pyrénées-Orientales. Originally known as AS Saint-Estève. They was founded in 1965. The club compete in the National Division 2 Languedoc-Roussillon league. Home games are played at the Stade Municipal.

Matty Smith (rugby league) England international rugby league footballer

Mathew Joe Smith is an English rugby league footballer who plays as a scrum-half for the Widnes Vikings in the Betfred Championship. He has played for the England Knights and England at international level.

Bernard Guasch French former rugby league player (born 1960)

Bernard Guasch is a French former rugby league player, who played as stand-off and the current CEO of the Super League and French Rugby League Championship team, the Catalans Dragons and has been since their formation in 2001.

Rugby league is a team sport that is played in several regions of Spain. The game gained popularity in the autonomous community of Catalonia following the success of the Perpignan-based Catalans Dragons club in the Rugby League Challenge Cup and Super League from 2006 onwards. New clubs have subsequently been formed in the Valencian Community, Madrid and Andalucia. For example, the first game in the province of Castellon took place in November 2013. A Spanish National team played their first rugby league international in 2014 and have reached the final qualifying stage for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Super League Professional rugby league

The Super League (SL), sponsored as the Betfred Super League and officially known as Super League Europe, is the top-level of the British rugby league system. The league currently has twelve teams, eleven of which are from Northern England, reflecting the sport's geographic popularity within the UK. The final team is Catalans Dragons, from southern France.

The 2010 Super League season was the 15th season of the European rugby league football competition, Super League. Fourteen teams competed for the League Leaders' Shield over 27 rounds. All clubs also participated in the 2010 Challenge Cup tournament. The season officially kicked off on 5 February with the Crusaders versus the Leeds Rhinos on 29 January at Crusaders' new homeground at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham. Crusaders halfback Michael Witt scored the first points of the season with a penalty goal and the Rhinos came away with the first competition points, posting a 34 to 6 victory.

The 2011 Super League season was the 16th season of rugby league football since the Super League format was introduced in 1996. Fourteen teams competed for the League Leaders' Shield over 27 rounds, after which the highest finishing teams entered the play-offs to compete for a place in the Grand Final and a chance to win the championship and the Super League Trophy. Leeds Rhinos claimed their fifth Super League crown, tying the record previously held by St. Helens, whilst the Warrington Wolves lifted the League Leaders' Shield.

The 2012 Super League Grand Final was the 15th official Grand Final and conclusive and championship-deciding match of the Super League XVII season. The match was held on Saturday 6 October 2012, at Old Trafford, Manchester, and was contested by English clubs Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves. The 2012 Grand Final was a repeat of the 2012 Challenge Cup Final, in which Warrington beat Leeds 35-18 at Wembley Stadium, although it was Leeds who would win the Super League Grand Final, winning 26-18.

Morgan Escaré France international rugby league footballer

Morgan Escaré is a French professional rugby league footballer who plays as a fullback for the Salford Red Devils in the Betfred Super League and France at international level. He is Callum Farmington’s favourite french player after Paul Pogba

The 1993–94 League Cup was the twenty-third season of the rugby league League Cup, known as the Regal Trophy due to sponsorship by Regal.

The 1994–95 League Cup was the twenty-fourth season of the League Cup, rugby league's secondary cup competition known as the Regal Trophy due to sponsorship.

The 1995–96 League Cup was the twenty-fifth and final season of the rugby league League Cup, known for sponsorship purposes as the Regal Trophy.

The 2016 Super League season, known as the First Utility Super League XXI for sponsor reasons, was the 21st season of the Super League and 122nd season of rugby league in Britain. Twelve teams competed over 23 rounds, including the Magic Weekend which took place at St James' Park, after which the eight highest entered the Super League play-offs for a place in the Super League Grand Final. The four lowest teams then entered the qualifying play-offs, along with the four highest teams from the Championship, to determine which teams will play again in Super League XXII. Wigan Warriors are the current champions after successfully defeating Warrington Wolves 12–6 at Old Trafford.

Saint-Estève XIII Catalan French semi-professional rugby league club

Saint-Estève XIII Catalan who were previously called Union Treiziste Catalane or UTC for short are a semi-professional rugby league team based in Perpignan in the region of Pyrénées-Orientales in the south of France. Founded in 2000 after a merger between AS Saint-Estève and XIII Catalan the club plays in the Elite One Championship which is the top tier rugby league competition in France. They have won the league title once and the cup four times. Their current home stadium is the Stade Municipal and they are coached by Jerome Guisset

Stade Municipal or Stade Saint-Estève as it is sometimes known, is a rugby stadium in Saint-Estève a suburb of Perpignan. It is the current home of Saint-Estève XIII Catalan who play in the Elite One Championship in France. The stadium has a 6,000 capacity with 2,000 of these seated.

Romain Navarrete France international rugby league footballer

Romain Navarrete is a French rugby league footballer who plays as a prop for Toulouse Olympique in the Betfred Championship and France at international level.

The 2017 Super League season, known as the Betfred Super League XXII for sponsorship reasons, was the 22nd season of the Super League and 123rd season of rugby league in Britain. Twelve teams competed over 23 rounds, including the Magic Weekend, which took place at St James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, after which the eight highest entered the Super League play-offs for a place in the Super League Grand Final. The four lowest teams then entered the qualifying play-offs, along with the four highest teams from the Championship, to determine which teams will play again in Super League XXIII.

The 2018 Super League season, known as the Betfred Super League XXIII for sponsor reasons, was the 23rd season of the Super League and 124th season of rugby league in Britain. It was won by Wigan Warriors, who were crowned champions after beating Warrington Wolves 12-4. It was Wigan's 22nd Championship win and a new record for being champions. They are now 9 titles ahead of the next team.

The 2020 Super League XXV season is the 25th season of Super League, and 126th season of rugby league in Great Britain. It began on 30 January 2020, and was originally scheduled to end on 10 October 2020. It was to have consisted of 29 regular season games, and four rounds of play-offs, including the Grand Final at Old Trafford. Due to the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is uncertainty surrounding the remaining fixtures, and the league table will be decided on a percentage basis for the first time since 1930. The fixture list was released on 5 November 2019.

References

  1. O'Neill, Matthew. "Super League's First Ever International (with no English)". www.rleague.com (The World of Rugby League). Archived from the original on 25 May 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  2. 1 2 "Catalans Dragons 12–24 Warrington". news.bbc.co.uk (BBC Sport). 20 June 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  3. 1 2 "Dragons pleased with Barcelona ticket sales". www.superleague.co.uk (The RFL). Archived from the original on 15 August 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
  4. Season Review: Catalans Dragons, 3 December 2016
  5. Scott, Ged (25 August 2018). "Challenge Cup final: Catalans beat Warrington 20-14 to win first trophy". BBC Sport. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  6. "Catalans Dragons beat Warrington in Challenge Cup final to make history". Guardian. 25 August 2018. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  7. Bower, Aaron (18 May 2019). "Devastating Catalans prove too much for Wigan at enthusiastic Camp Nou". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  8. "Israel Folau under fire for implying bushfires are God's punishment". Guardian. 18 November 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  9. "Israel Folau: shock and outrage greets Catalans Dragons' signing". Guardian. 28 January 2020. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  10. Bramwell, Tom (10 March 2020). "Gil Dudson to join Catalans Dragons at the end of the season". Manchester Evening News.
  11. "McMeeken leaves Castleford for Catalans". BBC Sport. June 2020.
  12. "Catalans Confirm Signing Of Dean Whare". loverugbyleague. February 2021.
  13. "Maria to leave Catalans at end of season". BBC Sport.
  14. "Catalans prop Moa not offered new deal". BBC Sport.
  15. "Catalans prop Simon set to retire". BBC Sport.
  16. "NRL star Albert Kelly makes desperate move to keep career alive". NewsComAu. 23 November 2020.
  17. "Remi Casty: Catalans Dragons captain released after 14 seasons with club". BBC Sport. 30 November 2020.
  18. "Dragons Catalans › News › 2020 › Nov. › Lucas Albert leaves the club". Les Dragons Catalans.
  19. https://treizemondial.fr/gavin-marguerite-est-de-retour-en-elite-1/
  20. "Lewis Tierney: Leigh sign ex-Wigan back from Catalans Dragons". BBC Sport.