Israel Folau “grateful” for the opportunity Catalans have given him

Catalans’ controversial recruit Israel Folau says he will look to embrace the French culture after arriving in Perpignan.

The 30-year-old has joined the Dragons on a one-year deal after he was sacked by Rugby Australia for homophobic comments on social media.

Folau, who is expected to play centre for Catalans, could make his debut in Sunday’s match at Wakefield.

He said: “I’m excited to be back playing the game I grew up playing.

“It’s been 10 years since I last played league and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of a great organisation and a great team in Catalans.

“I’m looking forward to getting out there.

“From the first day being here you can see how professional the boys, the coaching staff and everyone involved are. I’m here to obviously compete and play some good footy and hopefully be a consistent player for the team.”

 

 

Folau has been out of action since last playing for the Waratahs in rugby union last April.

He argued his sacking by Rugby Australia amounted to religious discrimination in suing the governing body for £7.4million and reached a settlement in December.

The Australian added: “I missed that team camaraderie and team environment.

“Being able to train with the team and work alongside the coaches, that’s something I’ve missed in the last seven months but it’s fantastic to be back in a team environment and getting in to that routine of training hard again, enjoying the game and putting my best foot forward.

“It’s very different and something totally different to what I’m used to, but myself and my wife have been excited from the day we landed here.

“We’re embracing something new and something different. The culture is amazing and we’re looking forward, as the year goes on, to learn to speak the language and embrace the people here and how awesome this place is.”

 


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