26th August 2018, 10:18 | catalans

Guasch craving more trophies

Guasch craving more trophies

Catalans Dragons chairman Bernard Guasch is hoping Saturday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup triumph will spark a procession of silverware across the Channel and provide a boost for French rugby league.

The Perpignan club became the first non-British winners in the 121-year history of the competition thanks to a tense 20-14 victory over Warrington Wolves at Wembley.

Guasch, who merged leading local clubs St Esteve and XIII Catalan in 2005 with the aim of entering Super League, thanked the English teams for their backing and paid tribute to Steve McNamara for turning around their fortunes.

The Perpignan butcher stayed loyal to Englishman McNamara when the team faced the prospect of a second successive relegation battle and now believes he can deliver more trophies to the club.

“I have found the right coach for the Catalans Dragons,” he said. “I always trusted Steve, in all the talks we have every Monday he has always been honest.

“He will improve the team for next season and they will compete for many more years and bring maybe more trophies now.

“I’d like to thank all the directors of the Super League who 13 years ago trusted us and made the choice to invite us into the competition.”

McNamara will add England full-back Sam Tomkins to his star-studded line-up in 2019 alongside his former Wigan Warriors team-mate Michael McIlorum, who was delighted to pick up his third cup winners’ medal.

“I came here to win and people might not have believed me when I said that but I didn’t come here to rest on my laurels,” McIlorum said.

“Signing a player like Sam Tomkins shows that the club want to win things and to win a Grand Final would be the ultimate achievement.

“Hopefully signing Sam will attract other great players like him.”

The Dragons are confident the club’s inaugural success will have major repercussions for the game in France.

Guasch said: “It’s huge for French rugby league. It’s like a new start today. From now we have to work together to benefit from the boost of the win. It’s historic.”

Lance Todd Trophy winner Tony Gigot said: “Hopefully it can make all the young kids dream about winning a trophy like this. We’ve shown we’ve got some good rugby players in France.”

McIlorum added: “It can do a lot in terms of young kids watching the game, they’ve got something to aspire to. Hopefully it will make them pick up a rugby ball rather than a football.

“It’s great for France as a country and Perpignan as a place.

“To be in the first team to win something for this club is a massive achievement, it ranks up there with anything I’ve done.”