Israel Folau ready for his next challenge, says Steve McNamara

Catalans coach Steve McNamara says Israel Folau is ready for his next challenge after making his debut.

The 30-year-old made his Dragons debut two weeks ago, scoring with his first touch in their 36-18 win over Castleford in Perpignan.

Catalans just had a fixture-free weekend because scheduled opponents St Helens were playing in the World Club Challenge, and McNamara believes the week off will have helped Folau.

He said: “His mind would say he wanted to play again straight away but his body probably suggested the week off won’t have done him any harm.

“He pulled through it sore but recovered really well and has trained fully at the back end of last week and the start of this week.

“He is looking in good shape again and he’s looking forward to this new challenge.”

The dual-code Australia international hadn’t played a competitive rugby game in 10 months following his sacking by Rugby Australia last May – but Folau’s fitness impressed the Dragons’ coaching staff.

McNamara added: “We knew he was ready to play but we weren’t quite sure he would last for the 80 minutes. He did remarkably well.

“We had a contingency plan if he needed to come off but it didn’t cross our minds during the game. As the game got going, it was clear he was ready to stay out there.”

Folau is expected to play his first rugby league game on English soil for Catalans on Sunday when they travel to Hull FC.

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