Dragons Catalans – Toulouse: the first French « derby » of the Super League honored in England


The situation may seem incongruous. It could even shock the most conservative fans across the Channel. This Thursday evening, opening the eighth day of the Super League, no English team will have the honors of Sky Sports. The British channel has chosen to highlight the first confrontation between the Catalans Dragons and Toulouse in the elite of the European XIII (8:30 p.m.).

A historic figure in English and Irish rugby in the 1990s and 2000s, Barrie McDermott, who will comment on the meeting, does not hide his enthusiasm. “It’s incredible, we are delighted to see two French teams compete. It will boost the Championship and show its full potential to those who claim it is confined to the north of England. » Former player then coach of the Dragons, Jérôme Guisset confirms this enthusiasm: “There are always diehards, but most supporters are happy to see the competition grow. » Promoted this season, Toulouse Olympique joined the Catalans, the first French team to have joined the English Championship in 2006, and the first to have played in a final in October (10-12 defeat against St Helens), after winning the Cup in 2018.

“We want to show which is the best French team”

Sylvain Houles, coach of Toulouse Olympique

« Dracs » and Toulouse hope to find this enthusiasm on the side of Gilbert-Brutus, but above all to see it continue. “There is only one first time so we want to mark the occasion, explains Sylvain Houles, the Toulouse coach. We have to create something unique so that each year, when the calendar comes out, the whole of the great South ticks off this date. » The opportunity also to put a spotlight on a developing sport, a few months before the World Cup in England (October 15-November 19), and while France will host the 2025 edition.

Sportingly, the meeting promises in any case to be tense between a promoted Toulouse, in search of points in his race for maintenance, and Perpignan, deprived of several executives including Sam Tomkins and on the verge of a crisis of confidence after two setbacks. rank, including the last at home against St Helens in the Cup (20-36). “He is an opponent that should not be underestimated. They are capable of beating anyone, we saw it against St Helens (22-20) and Wigan (28-29 defeat)”, specifies the Catalan center Arthur Romano. Opposed for almost ten years in pre-season matches, the two clubs know each other by heart but will not give each other a gift.

« It’s a question of pride, we want to show which is the best French team, warns Houles, who will be able to rely on former Perpignan residents (Pelissier, Navarette, Gigot, Albert). We are not fooled, they are at the top, but we know that anything can happen. »


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