Eagles join with Grizzlies
The two teams will also play in friendly at the picturesque Stade de l’Aiguille as the Eagles prepare to defend the Co-operative Championship Trophy in 2013.
Informal discussions between the clubs have been ongoing for a number of years but were formalised during a recent trip to Limoux by the Eagles’ Chairman Ian Swire and Chief Executive and Head Coach Mark Aston.
Commenting on the partnership Ian Swire said, “We consider this arrangement to be a partnership from which both parties can benefit and will help the development of rugby league in both France and South Yorkshire.”
“Whilst other Championship Clubs are entering partnerships with Super League clubs we do not consider that to be in the best long-term interests of rugby league development in South Yorkshire.”
“We do consider however that by giving our youngsters the opportunity to play at a high level in France and also giving the French counterparts the chance to participate in our development structures benefits both of the clubs and the more importantly the players involved.”
“Limoux players Fahed Zine and Alex Doutres spent time with the Eagles this summer, playing and training with our academy side and it was good catch up on their progress during our trip.”
“We witnessed Zine scoring the winning try for the Limoux under 18s and then Alex Doutres scoring the first Limoux try in the first teams match against Avignon.”
Mark Aston added, “Many French players have played a part in the history of Sheffield Eagles and we are hopeful that this partnership will not only produce more quality players but also give opportunities for our young players like Eddie Battye to develop in a high intensity competition.”
“Players like the excellent David Fraisse and Jean Marc Garcia who both previously played for the Eagles.”
Battye is currently on loan with Limoux rivals Villeneuve Leopards with the partnership not being agreed in time for him to join Limoux.
Swire and Aston met with members of the board of Limoux Grizzlies including President Laurent Moreno and fellow director Frederic Teixido, who played a number of games for Eagles in their final Super League season in 1999.
Swire added, “I have known Freddie for about 15 years and in 2011 he introduced me to Laurent (Moreno) and we found that we all shared a passion for development of the game and particularly youth development.”
“Giving youngsters opportunities to not only play but to travel and encounter other cultures will be great for both parties.”
“If the pre-season trip for the senior side is a success then we envisage that our academy will have the opportunity to travel to France and also for the Limoux juniors to visit Sheffield in the future.”
The club is aware that a number of supporters have expressed an interest in accompanying the team to Limoux.
Once arrangements have been confirmed with Limoux the club will announce further details and suggested itineraries which will include the famous Limoux Carnival which will be taking place in the town during the trip.