French round-up: Catalans fury, games on TV, Maria set for exit and Simon signs for Carcassonne

All the latest from across the Channel in association with TreizeMondial.fr

Free-to-air channel to show Catalans return

Catalans Dragons entered the 2020 season without a TV deal, meaning an end to their home games being broadcast in the UK by Sky Sports. For the past few seasons, all Dragons home games have been televised live, so losing them meant a decrease in live coverage.

But not only that, the lack of a broadcast deal means no coverage in France. That may change when Super League restarts, with L’Equipe – a free-to-air channel – set to take the Sky Sports feed from the Dragons opener against St Helens. When beIN Sports had the rights, they used to use the Sky Sports feed to show live Catalans games in England – and with the restart likely to see more televised games than usual, it could be a bonus for French fans.

Guasch slams English counterparts

Catalans president Bernard Guasch is not happy at Super League clubs’ refusal to travel to play Catalans in Perpignan. Believed to be one of the reasons for the delay in releasing the Super League fixture list, Catalans had announced plans to play a home game on August 8. But their rivals have tried to block the move, citing the unfairness of Catalans being able to play in front of up to 5,000 spectators, after the French government relaxed lockdown restrictions.

Guasch told L’Independant: “We must stop these meanness, jealousy and manipulation. The last calendar is questioned because we can play in front of 5,000 (spectators), it is very average sportsmanship and today I am stunned by these reactions and I ask myself serious questions about our future.”

Gigot future uncertain

France international Tony Gigot will not be making his move to Toronto Wolfpack permanent. Gigot, 29, joined the Wolfpack on an unpaid trial period in February, and played three times. With no salary cap space available, the former Catalans man couldn’t continue with the Canadians and so remains unattached, but reports suggest at least two other Super League clubs are interested in signing him.

Robin to leave Toulouse

Half-back Stanislas Robin is leaving Championship side Toulouse to return to the Elite 1 with Villeneuve. Reports have already linked Toulouse with signing Leigh half-back Ben Reynolds as his replacement.

Simon leads Carcassonne recruitment

Experienced forward Mickael Simon has signed for Elite 1 side Carcassonne, after deciding to leave Catalans Dragons at the end of the season. Simon, 33, has made more than 160 Super League appearances for the Dragons and Wakefield, who he played for in 2015 and 2016. He now makes the move to Carcassonne, to become a leader for their young players. According to local media reports, he wasn’t present when Catalans returned to training on Friday and so could be set to make his move sooner.

Carcassonne have also re-signed Kiwi Tony Pellow, who scored 10 tries in eight appearances before the season was curtailed, versatile Fijian Joe Drodrolagi and utility Jamin Williams, 22.

Maria set for exit

Antoni Maria is to depart Catalans at the end of the 2020 season, according to sources. Maria, 33, has had three spells with the Dragons and has also played for Toulouse, Leigh and Hull KR. He will likely sign a deal with an Elite 1 Championship club.

New president at Lyon

Foued Boudali – who Love Rugby League spoke to about the potential for growth of rugby league in Lyon last year – has been appointed as president of the club. Nabiel Bounia steps up from coach to become sports director. Boudali was unanimously elected after Jean-Pierre Dellasette resigned from the post.

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