Published: Sat, February 15, 2020
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Controversial Folau scores on Catalans winning debut

Controversial Folau scores on Catalans winning debut

Israel Folau could make his Super League rugby debut on Sunday morning (EDT) after being included in the Catalans Dragons' 21-man match-day squad for their home match with Castleford.

The dual-code worldwide - who settled a legal dispute with Rugby Australia over his dismissal in December - had to wait for his Catalans bow, but made a quick impact after his controversial move was ratified by the Rugby Football League.

Folau scored a try with his first touch of the game and had French supporters on their feet every time he touched the ball in Perpignan.

"That's what we want from Israel, nothing else", said the Dragons coach, Steve McNamara. The Dragons opted to run the ball and Sam Tomkins, who went on to complete a hat-trick, crossed the whitewash.

His presence at the Stade Gilbert Brutus will heighten interest in the fixture after Folau's signing was fiercely opposed by both Super League and the Rugby Football League as well as the majority of clubs.

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Folau, who was playing his first rugby league match in 10 years, followed Sam Tomkins' early try in the south of France.

Castleford responded just before half-time, two successive penalties putting centre Cheyse Blair in space on the right, Richardson's conversion making it 20-12 at half-time.

Things got worse for Castleford when Olpherts was sin-binned for delaying a quick re-start from Tomkins and 12 men struggled to contain the Dragons, despite Richardson's best efforts. When Tomkins struck on the left to release Langi, it was Yaha who again capitalised with a try on the left, too far out for Maloney to convert.

The Tigers were still in the battle, however, and on 65 minutes Richardson cleverly made a try for winger James Clare, with Richardson adding the goal to make it 30-18.

An attempted drop-goal by Sam Tomkins was wide of the mark but when Kasiano returned to the fray, Catalans pushed for the finish.

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