Australian rugby player Israel Folau smiles during a training session with his new club Catalan Dragons in Perpignan, France. Picture: AP
Australian rugby player Israel Folau smiles during a training session with his new club Catalan Dragons in Perpignan, France. Picture: AP

Folau named in Catalan squad

Israel Folau has been named in the squad for the Catalans Dragons as he awaits a final decision on selection after training on Friday night Australian time.

The cross code champion looks set for his return to rugby league with his first professional game since April last year.

Australia's Israel Folau during a training session with his new club Catalan Dragons in Perpignan, southern France. Picture: AP
Australia's Israel Folau during a training session with his new club Catalan Dragons in Perpignan, southern France. Picture: AP

The 30-year-old's recruitment to the French club has sparked controversy, with opposition clubs angry at his move to Europe.

He missed the club's game against Wakefield last week amid a planned protest from gay rights groups.

 

However he could be set for a home debut against Castleford Tigers at the Stade de Brutus in the south of France.

The Catalans Dragons picked him up for the bargain price of $400,000 per year after he was sacked by Rugby Australia for homophobic comments on social media.

 

Australia's Israel Folau during a training session with his new club Catalan Dragons. Picture: AP
Australia's Israel Folau during a training session with his new club Catalan Dragons. Picture: AP

The club has wrapped him up in cotton wool and cancelled a press conference.

He has remained in "unbelievable" condition according to Catalans coach Steve McNamara.

News Corp Australia understands he remains at his playing weight.

Folau would be a handy addition to the side, which has been hit by injuries.

 

Catalans Dragons have signed Israel Folau on a 1 year deal. Picture: Instagram
Catalans Dragons have signed Israel Folau on a 1 year deal. Picture: Instagram

 

He has joined Sonny Bill Williams in the UK based Super League.

Williams is playing for the league's other international side the Toronto Wolfpack.

He will miss this weekend's match because he has returned to New Zealand for the expected birth of his fourth child.