Israel Folau named in Catalans Dragons squad to face Castleford
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By PA Media
Last Updated: 13/02/20 4:49pm
Israel Folau moved a step closer to making his Super League debut after being named in Catalans Dragons' 21-man squad for Saturday's match against Castleford in Perpignan.
The 30-year-old former Wallabies and Waratahs full-back or winger has not played since being sacked by Rugby Australia last May for posting anti-LGBT+ comments on social media and it is 10 years since his last rugby league game.
Being included in a 21-man squad does not guarantee he will play but Folau has had two weeks of training with his new team-mates.
Dragons' head coach Steve McNamara stated earlier in the week that Folau would have two further training sessions to prove his match fitness and he appears to be convinced he is now ready for action.
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Folau's signing was fiercely opposed by both Super League and the Rugby Football League, as well as the majority of clubs.
The RFL said it was powerless to prevent his registration but Super League clubs voted at a meeting a week ago to implement measures to prevent such a controversial signing in future.
Castleford coach Daryl Powell says it will take time for the dual-code international to re-adjust to the 13-man game.
"He's a good player, an outstanding player, it will be interesting to see how he fits back in," said Powell, whose side were the first to go up against another dual-code international, Sonny Bill Williams, in their opening game of the season against Toronto.
"It does take a bit of time to adjust back to the game when you've been out so long. Sonny Bill saw that last week, although it is different when you're playing in the outside backs."
Catalans lost their opening game of the Super League season with Huddersfield Giants 32-12, with last weekend's fixture against Wakefield Trinity postponed due to Storm Ciara.