Catalans hit back angrily at Agar criticism

Catalans Dragons CEO Christophe Jouffret has responded to the comments made by France national coach Richard Agar, following the French defeat to England at the weekend.

England won by a record 84-4 scoreline over Agar’s France side, prompting the coach to highlight a perceived lack of support for the national team from the Dragons.

Agar contrasted the Dragons’ treatment of his team with the way in which the touring New Zealand national side were welcomed to French Catalonia.

But Jouffret insists that Agar’s criticisms are unfair, and not grounded in the reality of the situation in Perpignan.

“We are all extremely disappointed by the result of the game between France and England on Saturday,” he said.

“We would like to clarify that we have not, in any case, refused the access to the Gilbert Brutus pitch to the France team during their preparation in Perpignan.

“Indeed, for years, we have provided all of our facilities with pleasure and gratuity. This year, the Perpignan Council technical services, due to the refurbishment of the field, had to prevent the access to the field during the first few weeks of October.

“This treatment is essential for an optimal use throughout a Super League season. We have of course provided our changing rooms, gymnasium and video room to be as welcoming as possible to the France team.

“The Perpignan Council are proud to welcome the New Zealand team after this period of work on the pitch has been completed, for a training camp that has been scheduled for more than three months by the New Zealand federation.

“It’s important to know that the France team was not the only team prevented from training on the Gilbert Brutus pitch during the essential pitch maintenance, our injured players, our reserve grade players and our U19 players have been training for over a month at another stadium, not Brutus.

“Regarding the players who were available to the French squad, you should know that some players of Dragons were injured, such as Remi Casty, Vincent Duport, Eloi Pelissier, Fouad Yaha and Greg Munis.

“Others, like Olivier Elima and Thomas Bosc have retired from the international scene and those available who did not play against England on Saturday were not selected by the France coaching staff.

“Finally, we regret the questioning of the integrity of Catalans Dragons in the Super League, especially two weeks after the annual Super League meeting where the club received a lot of positive feedback from the RFL and the CEO’s from other Super League clubs, following the presentation on the history and the development of our club over the past ten years.

“The Catalans Dragons would like to wish the XIII de France all the best for their next two games against Wales and Scotland and is more than ever open to discussions to improve, in the interest of all, the results of the France national team.”


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