Catalans aiming for both Super League and Challenge Cup trophies

Catalans coach Steve McNamara says he currently has 32 full-time players in training with power to add as he prepares for a twin-pronged assault on the major trophies in 2020.

The French club are challenging for a play-off spot in Super League and take on Salford on Friday for a place in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup.

McNamara accepts the huge disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic will make it harder than ever to do the double this year but that will not prevent his club trying.

McNamara said: “It’s going to be extremely hard, as we saw last week with Hull and Castleford who had eyes on both. It’s really difficult.

“But there are two trophies to win each year and, in a 10-year career as a player, there are 20 opportunities to win trophies, so to toss one aside is a really difficult thing to do.

“With the way the competition is and what’s happening, we just don’t know what’s around the corner, so we’ll attack each game as it comes and see where it takes us.”

Super League clubs are preparing for midweek fixtures, even without involvement in the cup, and although the Catalans still have three league matches to re-arrange, McNamara believes he has a big enough squad to challenge on both fronts.

McNamara said: “If you are at the top of the competition and feel you can afford to put out a weakened team and save yourself for the cup, that potentially can be done.

“This week we’ve a clear run at it but, if we get to the semi-finals, I think we’ve got Leeds away scheduled for the Wednesday night and, if we happen to get to the final, I think we have Wigan away on the Wednesday.

“Decisions would have to be made at that point.

“We’ve got 32 full-time players at the minute and the ability to add to that. We have a lot more on the register, who are part-time and preparing for the season to start in the French elite league on the first of December.

“Arthur Mourge has played a few times and there are a few more waiting in the wings who have worked really hard, people like Lambert Belmas, Paul Séguier, Arthur Romano and Lucas Albert.

“We’ve got some players hungry and desperate to get some opportunities and those players will get chances.”

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