Sport Rugby League Catalans shrug off critics as they prepare for Israel Folau’s debut

Catalans shrug off critics as they prepare for Israel Folau’s debut

Israel Folau scores for the Waratahs.
Israel Folau, shown here during his days with the Waratahs, is to be in France and ready to play. Photo: Getty
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Catalans coach Steve McNamara is keen to get controversial signing Israel Folau into action following a 32-12 opening round Super League loss to Huddersfield.

The Dragons are keeping their new recruit under wraps, fearful of adding flames to the media frenzy caused by his recruitment, with Folau sacked by Rugby Australia last year for making religiously-motivated comments on social media directed at homosexuals.

However Catalans’ defence out wide was at fault for several tries by Huddersfield and McNamara believes the Australian dual international will plug some gaps.

“We’ve made the signing, we’ve made the statement, there will be further stuff to follow but not right now,” McNamara said.

“Another outside back is going to be good for us, we’re down right there at the moment … so we’re a little bit short in those areas and it would be nice to have an extra body on board.”

The Dragons are staying tight-lipped over whether Folau has arrived in the south of France but rumours were circulating around Stade Gilbert Brutus on Saturday night that the 30-year-old ex-Wallabies star was in town.

McNamara’s opposite, Giants coach Simon Woolford, believes Folau will be a hit in Super League.

“Catalans made a decision to sign Israel; they haven’t broken any rules in signing him,” said the former Canberra Raiders hooker.

“There’s been a lot of discussion and a lot of clubs are against it, but he’s here now and it’s a good signing for the Catalans.

“They’ve got a good player, so full credit to them. We’ll see how it plays over the next week, especially once he starts playing.”