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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 May 2006, 22:03 GMT 23:03 UK
Catalans Q&A

The Catalans Dragons have made a big impression since they made their Super League debut this season.

We gave you the chance to quiz the club's chief executive Grant Mayer.

Mayer took time out from his busy schedule in France to answer the best of our questions.


Q. Do you think that a French team competing well in Super League will make for a successful international team?
Doug Miller, Epsom, Surrey

Absolutely. That's the aim of what we are doing. Initially, we want to have a successful club team and we believe that will ensure the international game continues to develop.

Adel Fellous
Adel Fellous tries to get through the Wigan defence

Q. There was speculation about making the Tri-Nations a four-nation event, involving France. Do you think this could ever happen and would France be ready for such a move against teams with so much experience?
David Taylor, Warrington

Three years is the target. Once this franchise has had a chance to develop the players we already have and identify new French talent, we think the French national team will improve. A competitive French team in the 2008 World Cup is the aim.

Q. Is the link between Catalans and the rugby union side Perpignan a harmonious one, or is there a fear on their part that you are stealing fans and young players from them?
William, Surrey

I'm not sure if fear is the right word. There is a certain history that makes our development quite difficult at times.

The local rugby union team has had Perpignan to itself for a long while. All of a sudden a new international competition arrives in town and there is a natural reaction. But, 14 rounds into Super League, I think that relationship is being managed.

Mark Hughes of the Catalans Dragons
Mark Hughes is stopped by Harlequins' Nick Bradley-Qalilawa

Q. Do you see the Dragons challenging for honours before 2010? Also, is the travelling having an effect on both players and your clubs finances?
Paul, St Helens

The travelling side of things we're getting used to. It's just part of the normal game day routine.

Financially, we've been aware of the implications since we first put in our submission for a franchise to the RFL, so that has not come as any surprise.

Our success will not be measured in terms of winning championships, but whether we carry on improving. I think our improvement so far has been quite noticeable.

Q. I heard you were building a new stadium for the Dragons? How is it coming along and how many people will it accommodate when completed?
Mike, Wigan

It's a redevelopment of the traditional home of rugby league in Perpignan, the Stade Gilbert Brutus.

At the moment it's a three-stage development. The first stage will be ready for Super League in 2007 and the final stage will be complete by 2008 with a capacity of 13,000.

The lucky thing for the club is that we have Aime Giral to play in now as an alternative.

Q. How will the number of foreigners playing in the Catalans team affect the clubs development long term? Does the club have a youth policy for the future?
Sam Miller, Surrey

We have no more overseas players than majority of Super League teams. We put our hands on our heart and said we would have no more than eight overseas players in a squad of 25 in year one and year two. That will drop to six in year three.

The aim is to develop local talent but we also need to bring in quality overseas players to help with that development.

Q. Do you think that France will already be in a shape to expand to two Super League clubs in 2009, and where will the extra top-level players come from?
Lez, B'ham

I think we've got to be very careful. The first thing is to make sure this franchise is successful. On the field at the moment we are struggling for consistency. If you rush to put a second club into the competition, then both clubs could suffer.

We need to concentrate on developing this club first and then at some point consider whether there is an opportunity for a second franchise. But, long term, it would be fantastic to have two clubs.

Michael Dobson
Dobson has proved an able replacement for Stacey Jones

Q. Don't you think you have missed Stacey Jones a lot this season?
Chris Elcock, York

I can understand why you'd say that, but we have had three wins without Stacey Jones. That has taken a lot of pressure off the team generally and Stacey himself.

I think if we had been winless, the pressure would have been on Stacey to come back and turn things around.

Q.What will happen to Michael Dobson when Stacey Jones returns from injury? I think he is a great player and would love it if he stayed with the Dragons.
Adam, Leeds

He's a terrific young kid and a great asset. But at 19 he wants to prove himself in the NRL. The plan is that he will leave on Monday after the Widnes cup tie and Stacey Jones comes back for the Wakefield game the following weekend.

Q. When will you hold rugby league matches in Spain? We were promised a game in Figueres this year, but it was not played. Your club is Les Catalans club, but most Catalan people live in Spain, more than in France.

Also, will we see Les Catalans play on Spanish television next season?
Gregory Calixte, Barcelona

The Catalans region is very important to us, but it's important that we stabilise our home fixtures as much as possible. I can't give specific times or dates on games in Spain, but we want to develop the game there.

As for Spanish television - at the moment we're thrilled to have French television covering our games, so it is one step at a time.

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