Players from both camps have their say ahead of first French derby in Super League

Ben Olawumi

Tonight sees Super League play host to a first ever French derby as Catalans Dragons welcome newly-promoted Toulouse Olympique to the Stade Gilbert Brutus.

The two clubs have previously met in friendlies, including in January just gone, but now face off on the top-flight stage.

Both Dragons head coach Steve McNamara and Toulouse boss Sylvain Houles have spoken of their excitement ahead of the contest, and now players from both sides have had their say.

Here’s the lowdown on the mood in both camps as told to Super League.

Catalans Calls 

Arthur Mourgue: “The motivation is huge. We’re not going to give a present to Toulouse Olympique. We’re going to go as hard as we can and try to be the best French team in Super League.”

Mitchell Pearce: “I’m starting to understand the history of rugby league within France. To have two teams here and obviously be the first [derby] in history, it’ll be pretty cool to be a part of it.”

Mickael Goudemand: “It’s massive. We all dream of these types of games.”

Last season’s Grand Finalists Catalans undoubtedly head into the inaugural French derby as favourites.

Taking part in Super League for the first time ever this year though, French bragging rights would be a landmark for Toulouse.

Former Dragons players Eloi Pelissier and Tony Gigot are now both on Olympique’s books.

Toulouse Talks

Gigot: “I’m pretty close with some of the guys over there still and I talk with them every day, but at the moment, we didn’t talk about this [game].

“Catalans have been here for nearly 20 years, so we know where they are at, and we know where we are. It’s just one game so of course, we believe in our chances.”

Pelissier: “We have friends, and the [Dragons] fans are also my friends, but on this day, you have to forget everything and play the hardest that you can. It doesn’t matter who you have in front of you, you need to step up and give your body to rugby league for this game.”

Scheduled to get underway at 19:30 (GMT), Thursday evening’s game will also be shown live in front of the Sky Sports cameras as part of Super League’s ‘Rivals Round’.