Super League and RFL launch investigation after huge brawl between fans of Warrington Wolves and Catalans Dragons

4 Aug

Super League and the RFL will launch an investigation into the ugly scenes which marred the end of Saturday’s clash between Catalans Dragons and Warrington in Perpignan.

Catalans duo Sam Tomkins and Michael McIlorum saw red after the match for their role in an on-field fracas, while tempers also flared in the stands, with fans trying to climb over barriers in ugly scenes as punches reigned down.

Warrington’s Jake Mamo also received a second yellow card in the incident, as the Dragons defeated Warrington 30-10.

Warrington and Catalans fans clash in Perpignan

“We were appalled to see the pictures from Perpignan, and an investigation will be launched,” read a joint statement from Super League and the RFL.

“The scenes are alien to Super League and have no place in our game. We will be taking firm action to make it clear this behaviour is totally unacceptable.”

A Warrington statement explained that the club is “working in conjunction with Catalans Dragons and Super League to gather further information”, while Bernard Guasch – the hosts’ chairman – said: “We are now waiting for the CCTV footage before making any decision.”

Warrington’s release added: “We sincerely believe that this behaviour does not reflect the vast majority of our loyal and supportive fan base following the team in France this weekend.”

There were reports of chairs and glass being thrown

Man of the match Tomkins had created three tries and kicked seven goals as Catalans claimed a 30-10 victory.

“We’ve always had good challenges against Catalans every time we play them,” said Warrington coach Steve Price. “It was really disappointing how the game finished – you don’t like to see that, do you?”

When asked whether he thought events on the pitch had influenced those off it, Price responded: “What do you reckon? I think you’re answering the question yourself there.”

Price also criticised the officiating of referee James Child – a sentiment echoed by opposite number Steve McNamara.

“I’m clearly not happy with the whole of the game in terms of how it was managed,” said McNamara. “After the game I will take that up with the relevant people.

“I think it is best to stay nice and calm and speak to the relevant people and deal with the issues that will be brought up from that game.

“I have no idea how (the scenes at the end of the game) have come about, but it’s disgraceful scenes that we don’t want to see in our sport and I’m sure, again, the relevant people will look into that and find out.

“I just sincerely hope that no one is hurt from that because it didn’t look good.”

McNamara did, however, hit out at a suggestion from Price that his side had deliberately slowed the game down.

“I’m sick and tired of every time a team comes here and complains about the tactics and how tough it is and how difficult it is,” he said.

“I’ve said this numerous times, we have to do it 14, 15, 16 times a year. We face it every week when we travel away, yet teams want to whinge and carry on when they come here because it’s our ground.

“The best team won today and the best team won by a long way in the end and that result was correct. Nothing to do with anything other than the better team won on the day, simple as that.”

Price added that it was ‘way too early’ to offer an update on the fitness of Blake Austin, who left the field with a suspected ankle injury.

The result meant St Helens took the League Leaders’ Shield, with Warrington cut adrift.

Wigan Warriors and Catalans Dragons discussing idea of playing Betfred Super League match at Barcelona’s Nou Camp

27 Sep

Catalans Dragons and Wigan Warriors are reportedly in talks to play a Betfred Super League match at Barcelona’s Nou Camp next season.

It is understood the two clubs have agreed to the prospect and are negotiating with Barcelona to find a weekend that suits all parties.

Catalans took on Warrington Wolves at Barcelona’s Olympic stadium in 2009

Josep Maria Bartomeu, Barcelona’s chairman, invited Catalans to play at the Nou Camp after the club paraded the Challenge Cup at the stadium on Sunday.

A venue swith would have to be approved by the Rugby Football League, but according to Sky Sports News the organisation is backing the idea.

It would be the first time the Nou Camp has hosted a Rugby League game.

However, Catalans played Warrington in the city’s Olympic Stadium in 2009 in what was the first ever Rugby League match to be played in Spain.


Catalans Dragons release Fouad Yaha as winger switches codes and joins Agen

13 Sep

Catalans Dragons have released winger Fouad Yaha immediately to enable him to switch codes with Top 14 club Agen.

The 22-year-old, a member of the Dragons team that won the Challenge Cup at Wembley last month, has signed a two-year contract with the rugby union club.

Yaha has opted to change codes

Yaha, who came through the club’s academy, scored 32 tries in 62 Super League appearances for the Catalans and was in the France team that lost to England in their last group match of the 2017 World Cup.

“I would like to thank the Catalans Dragons for the four seasons I spent at the club,” he said.

“I have improved into a better player during my time at the club and I’m happy to make the Catalans Dragons history by winning the club’s first trophy.

“I would like to thank Steve McNamara, Bernard Guasch, the board members and all the club staff for giving me the opportunity to play and to improve in the best conditions.”

“I also want to thank my team-mates. It’s not easy to leave them as they are much more than friends.

“We took up together the challenge to win the club’s first trophy and I am looking forward to a new challenge now, playing in the Top 14.”

Yaha leaves Catalans Dragons with 62 Super League appearances to his name

Catalans coach Steve McNamara said: “Fouad has been an absolute pleasure to work with. The improvements he has made in both his game and lifestyle have been very good.

“He expressed an interest to me some months back to fulfil a goal of trying rugby union and, whilst it is with regret that Fouad will no longer be with the Dragons, we wish him well in his new adventure.”

Catalans Dragons 20-14 Warrington Wolves: French side secure historic upset win in Challenge Cup final

25 Aug

Catalans Dragons stunned Warrington Wolves to win their first Challenge Cup.

The French side became the first non-English team to win the trophy in its history.

Ben Garcia of Catalans Dragons celebrates scoring their second try

The Dragons looked capable of the upset as soon as Lewis Tierney went over early on.

Ben Garcia and Brayden Wiliame got their two additional tries, and Josh Drinkwater kicked four goals.

Wire crossed twice (Ben Murdoch-Masila and George King) and Tyrone Roberts kicked three goals.

But, in front of Wembley Stadium’s worst Challenge Cup final crowd (50,672) since WWII, the Catalans Dragons ultimately ran out deserved champions.

Catalans Dragons winger Jodie Broughton to miss start of 2019 season with cruciate ligament injury

31 Jul

Catalans Dragons winger Jodie Broughton will miss the start of the 2019 season after suffering a major knee injury.

The former Salford and Huddersfield player is set to undergo surgery and be sidelined for the next six months after suffering the injury in his side’s Super League defeat at Wigan on Friday.

Broughton is set to miss up to six months of action

Dragons coach Steve McNamara said: “Jodie suffered a cruciate ligament injury, his ACL, so it’s the worst type of injury you can have.

“Unfortunately for us, he’ll miss probably not only the end of the season but the start of next season also.”

Broughton, who played in the Catalans’ Challenge Cup wins over York, Whitehaven and Huddersfield, will obviously miss Sunday’s semi-final against St Helens at Bolton, although he was not guaranteed to be involved.

On Friday he was deputising for winger Lewis Tierney, one of six players rested by McNamara with an eye on the club’s bid to reach Wembley for the second time.

McNamara will have to get the better of his former Sydney Roosters colleague Justin Holbrook, the St Helens head coach, if he is to steer the French club to their first final since 2007.

“I worked alongside Justin for two years at the Roosters,” McNamara said. “We had a great working relationship and we’re good friends.

“You probably spend more time with each other as coaches than you do with your family because that’s the type of job we’re in. I have a lot of respect for Justin.”

McNamara has revealed the Catalans staff and players took the opportunity for a spot of reconnaissance during their Wigan trip by making a visit to the Macron Stadium, the venue for Sunday’s historic double-headed semi-finals.

“We had a bit of spare time while we were over playing Wigan so we went there to have a look and got a good feel for the place,” he said.

“I think it’s a really exciting prospect, not only playing at the Macron but also with it being a double header.

“There will be four sets of fans all enjoying the kind of atmosphere the Magic Weekend brings but I think this is going to be a step up.

“Quite clearly, we’ll have the fewest number of spectators in the stadium but perhaps the Leeds and Warrington fans in the ground may cheer us on and we might get a few neutral supporters on the day to help us along.”

The Dragons will adopt their normal routine for away games, flying over in a private jet the day before the game after completing their preparations in France.