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Catalans Dragons – Rugby League Club Team

Sunset over an empty football stadium with dramatic clouds in the sky.

Are you a rugby fan looking for something unique in the Super League? Look no further than the Catalans Dragons – the only French team in this prestigious competition. Founded in 2000, they made history by becoming the first French team to reach Challenge Cup finals. In this blog, we’ll take a deep dive into the fascinating world of Catalans Dragons and their impact on European sport. Get ready to discover how this team is making waves in professional rugby!

Key Takeaways

  • The Catalans Dragons is a pioneering French rugby league club that joined the Super League in 2006 and became the first team from France to compete at this elite level.
  • In 2007, just one year after their Super League debut, they reached the Challenge Cup finals—a significant achievement for the club and French rugby league as a whole.
  • They play their home matches at Stade Gilbert Brutus in Perpignan, which has been a central part of their identity and growth since moving there in 2007.
  • The team represents diverse international talent with key players like James Maloney from Australia and Sam Tomkins from England contributing to both national representation and club success.
  • With a strong focus on developing local youth talent and engaging with the community, Catalans Dragons is committed to growing rugby league’s popularity within France while also increasing its global recognition.

Brief history of Catalans Dragons

The Catalans Dragons rugby league club arose from the heart of French Catalonia, taking shape in 2000 through the fusion of XIII Catalan and St Esteve. This blend created a new force, Union Treiziste Catalane (UTC), which would later evolve into today’s famed Dragons.

Breathing fire into their legacy, they stormed into the Super League in 2006 as the first French team to do so.

Perpignan became a beacon for professional rugby league as it welcomed this ground-breaking team. The Dragons soon etched their name in history books by reaching the Challenge Cup finals just one year after joining Super League, showcasing their might on an international stage.

Their story continues to unfold on and off the field, with each match at Stade Gilbert Brutus adding to their rich tapestry within European sport.

Unique identity as the only French team in the Super League

Building on their rich heritage, the Catalans Dragons carry a distinctive badge of honor as the solitary French envoys in the Super League. Their entry into this elite competition shattered boundaries, instilling pride across Perpignan and beyond.

This bold move not only showcased their prowess but also illuminated France’s potential in rugby league’s global arena.

Stepping onto the field amongst England’s heavyweights, they fly the tricolor flag high with every tackle and try scored. Their presence brings a flair unique to French sport and enriches the cultural tapestry of the Super League.

Fans from all corners flock to witness their vibrant style of play that reflects deep-rooted Catalan passion for Rugby Football—showcasing yet another layer to France’s diverse sporting identity.

Formation and Early Years

The Catalans Dragons were formed in the Elite 1 league in 2000 before transferring to the Super League in 2006 and becoming the first French team to reach Challenge Cup finals in 2007.

To learn more about their journey from formation to success, keep reading!

Formation in Elite 1 league in 2000

The Catalans Dragons were formed in the Elite 1 league in 2000. This came about through the union of Catalan XIII and Saint-Estève, creating what is now known as Union Treiziste Catalane (UTC).

The team’s establishment marked a significant milestone for French rugby league, paving the way for their subsequent transfer to the prestigious Super League in 2006. Notably, they emerged as trailblazers by becoming the first French team to achieve this feat, thereby elevating their status within European sport.

This momentous formation solidified rugby league’s place in Perpignan’s culture and also contributed to its rich history. It was a pivotal step that set the stage for their remarkable journey and enduring impact on both local and international rugby fans alike.

Transfer to Super League in 2006

In 2006, the Catalans Dragons made history by transferring to the Super League, becoming the first French team to do so. This move marked a significant milestone in the club’s journey and signaled their integration into top-tier rugby league competition.

The transfer not only raised the profile of French rugby league but also showcased the talent and potential of the Catalans Dragons on an international stage, solidifying their status as a force to be reckoned with in European sport.

First French team to reach Challenge Cup finals in 2007

The Catalans Dragons made history in 2007 by becoming the first French team to reach the Challenge Cup finals. This significant achievement marked a major milestone for the team and showcased their growing influence in European rugby league.

The accomplishment highlighted the Catalans Dragons’ ability to compete at an elite level, garnering attention and respect within the sport.

In that pivotal year, they demonstrated their talent and determination, paving the way for future success and inspiring a new generation of rugby players in France. The team’s journey to the Challenge Cup finals provided an invaluable platform for promoting interest in rugby league throughout France and establishing themselves as a formidable force within the Super League.

Stadiums and Kit

The Catalans Dragons initially played at Stade Aimé Giral in 2006-2007 before moving to their current home, Stade Gilbert Brutus. Their kits have been sponsored by a variety of companies and manufactured by different brands over the years.

Stade Aimé Giral (2006-2007)

The team played at Stade Aimé Giral from 2006 to 2007. This stadium is primarily used for rugby matches and has a capacity of around 14,593 seats. During their time at this stadium, the Catalans Dragons made significant progress in the Super League, showcasing their skill and determination on their home turf.

The fans filled the stands with enthusiasm and support for their beloved team.

Stade Gilbert Brutus (2007-present)

After their time at Stade Aimé Giral, the Catalans Dragons made a significant move to Stade Gilbert Brutus in 2007, where they have been based since. The stadium, located in Perpignan, has a seating capacity of over 14,000 and provides a passionate and electric atmosphere for fans and players alike.

This modern facility not only serves as the home ground for the team but also symbolises the deep-rooted support for rugby league within this region of southern France. In addition to hosting regular Super League fixtures, it has also been a setting for historic games that have contributed to the rise of the sport’s popularity in French rugby culture.

The stadium plays an integral role not only in providing a platform for top-class rugby league matches but also in nurturing community engagement and pride among local supporters. As Catalans Dragons continue to make strides both on and off the field, their presence at Stade Gilbert Brutus continues to be crucial in solidifying their position as a driving force behind the growth of French rugby league.

Sponsorship and kit manufacturers

Since moving to Stade Gilbert Brutus in 2007, the Catalans Dragons have garnered significant sponsorship deals and partnerships. The kit manufacturers for the team have played a crucial role in creating distinctive and high-quality jerseys that reflect the team’s unique identity.

These partnerships not only provide financial support but also contribute to enhancing the visibility of the team both domestically and internationally.

The Catalans Dragons’ sponsorship agreements enable them to invest in necessary resources, including player development programs and facilities. The collaboration with reputable kit manufacturers ensures that players are equipped with top-notch gear, allowing them to perform at their best during matches.

Team and Players

The Catalans Dragons have a diverse squad with players from around the world, including key figures like Sam Tomkins and James Maloney. The team has also seen international representation in competitions such as the Rugby League World Cup.

Current squad and transfers

The Catalans Dragons are currently coached by Steve McNamara. The team’s current squad and transfers for the season include:

  1. James Maloney, an Australian halfback, joined the team in 2019 and has made a significant impact on the field.
  2. Israel Folau, known for his powerful playing style, signed with the Catalans Dragons in 2020 after his time in Australian rugby union.
  3. Sam Tomkins, an England international who previously played for Wigan Warriors, contributes to the team’s strong offensive line.
  4. Ben Garcia, a French international forward who has been with the team since 2014, provides valuable experience and leadership.
  5. Mickael Goudemand, a young talent who joined the squad in 2018, continues to develop his skills and make notable contributions to the team’s performance.

Key players and international representation

In addition to the current squad and transfers, the Catalans Dragons boast key players who have made significant contributions to the team. Notably, Israel Folau, a former Australian international rugby union player, joined the team in 2019.

His signing added an international star power to the squad and drew attention from around the world. Sam Tomkins is another standout player for the Catalans Dragons, having represented England at both national and international levels.

With their impressive skills and experience, these players have played pivotal roles in elevating the performance of the team.

Achievements and Honors

The Catalan Dragons have had a significant impact on French rugby league, becoming the first French team to reach the Challenge Cup finals in 2007. Their success has helped to raise the profile of rugby league in France and establish themselves as a competitive force in the sport.

League results and cups won

The Catalans Dragons have achieved notable success in the Super League, showcasing their competitive edge and determination. Since joining the league, they have secured several impressive accolades, including:

  1. Reaching the Challenge Cup finals in 2007, marking a significant milestone for French rugby league teams.
  2. Their groundbreaking victory in the 2018 Challenge Cup final, capturing the hearts of fans and solidifying their position as a force to be reckoned with in the competition.
  3. Making history by finishing as runners – up in the Super League during the 2021 season, demonstrating their consistency and ability to compete at an elite level.

Impact on French rugby league

The Catalans Dragons‘ presence in the Super League has significantly elevated the profile and competitiveness of French rugby league. Their participation in top-tier competitions has boosted interest and development of the sport within France, inspiring aspiring athletes and generating a larger following among fans.

French rugby league has experienced a surge in recognition on the European stage due to the success and influence of the Catalans Dragons. The team’s achievements have contributed to raising the standard of play and growing support for rugby league in France.

Growing Popularity and Future

The Catalans Dragons have been steadily gaining popularity, attracting a unique fan base and engaging with the community. With plans for youth development and growing interest in the sport globally, they are poised to make an even bigger impact in the future.

Unique fan base and community engagement

The Catalans Dragons boast a unique and passionate fan base, drawing support not only from Perpignan but also from across the Catalan region in France and Spain. Their fervent following brings an electric atmosphere to their home games at the Stade Gilbert Brutus.

The club’s dedication to community engagement is evident through various initiatives that involve local schools, youth rugby teams, and charitable causes, fostering a strong bond between the club and its supporters.

Renowned for their enthusiastic fans, the Catalans Dragons have created a strong sense of unity among rugby league enthusiasts in both French and Spanish territories. Engaging with the local community has been a priority for the team, allowing them to connect with fans of all ages while making a positive impact beyond just sports entertainment.

Plans for youth development

The club is focused on developing young talent by providing opportunities for local players to join their academy and receive professional training. They aim to foster the next generation of rugby league stars through structured programs, coaching, and competitive experience.

The Catalans Dragons are committed to nurturing youth talent within the community and providing a pathway for aspiring athletes to progress from grassroots levels to elite competition.

The club’s investment in youth development aligns with their mission to not only excel at the highest level of competition but also contribute to the growth of rugby league in France.

Growing interest and global recognition

The Catalans Dragons have captured global attention as the only French team in the prestigious Super League, drawing interest from fans and critics alike. With a strong presence in French rugby league and significant impact on European sport, the team has garnered recognition on an international level.

The unique blend of Catalan culture, deep-rooted history, and passionate fan base has made the Catalans Dragons a symbol of pride for both France and the global rugby league community.

As they continue to engage with their dedicated fan base and make strides in youth development programs, the Catalans Dragons are poised to further expand their influence beyond borders.


The Catalans Dragons have cemented their status as a force to be reckoned with in the world of rugby league since joining the Super League. Their unique identity and dedicated fan base have propelled them to success, marking a significant moment in French rugby history.

With plans for youth development and growing interest globally, the future looks bright for this trailblazing team.


1. Who are the Catalans Dragons?

The Catalans Dragons are a professional rugby league club team that competes in top-tier tournaments and is coached by Steve McNamara.

2. What does Coach Steve McNamara do for the Catalans Dragons?

Coach Steve McNamara leads the team’s training, develops game strategies, and guides the players to perform their best on the field.

3. Where do the Catalans Dragons play their home games?

The Catalans Dragons play their home games at a stadium dedicated to hosting thrilling rugby matches, where fans come to support them.

4. Have the Catalans Dragons won any major tournaments?

Yes, they have enjoyed victories in several competitions, showcasing their skill and determination under Coach Steve McNamara’s leadership.

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