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Last Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
Dragons aim to lift French game
By Julian Shea

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Catalans Dragons coach Mick Potter says he hopes being in the Challenge Cup final against St Helens will leave a lasting impact on the French game.

During World War Two, rugby league was outlawed in France and the Dragons being in the final is the biggest thing to have happened to the sport in years.

"I hope it leaves a residue to help build the game in France," he said.

"If we can, it would be great as the game needs to build a bit of momentum and needs a boost to lift itself up."

If we can get into the 'arm-wrestle' of the game and not make too many mistakes, that should set us up for the rest of the game

Stacey Jones

The Dragons are in their second season in Super League but can trace their history directly back to Treize Catalans, one of the pre-war French sides.

Although he has not yet discussed the historical aspect of his players had achieved, Potter said he could mention it ahead of the game at Wembley to inspire the players.

"It's quite possible that some of the overseas players and even the young French guys don't know the history of how it was illegal to play the game, and how it nearly died out.

"It could be a good thing to bring that up, it might be spoken about. These guys can show that French rugby league is going again, and if we can do well against Saints, it might lift the game's profile as we don't get much exposure at the moment."


If the Dragons are to make history, their talismanic Kiwi international Stacey Jones is sure to be central to the action.

In the semi-final, Catalans blew Wigan away with a devastating early spell as they romped into a 22-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes.

And Jones said Saturday's early exchanges could once again prove decisive.

"We don't want to be 20 points down after 20 minutes, so if we can get into the 'arm-wrestle' of the game and not make too many mistakes, that should set us up for the rest of the game," he said.

Stacey Jones
Jones is the Dragons' most inspirational player

"They can score three tries in five minutes, we know that, so we need a good start to have confidence to play good footie for the rest of the game."

Jones said St Helens fully deserved their status as favourites, but his team could benefit from the lack of expectation on them.

"They deserve to be red hot favourites, we know they've played in big games but hopefully we can come together and put together a decent performance that's all we can ask.

"We're a tight knit group, so if we can stay together and use the passion of it being our first time on the big stage, then that'll get us through."

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