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Adrian Morley - Wolverhampton Wolves
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Thomas Busc - Catalan Dragons
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Just getting started
The scoreboard at the start of the match featuring a dragon and a wolf
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Game in action
The Dragons and Wolves both fought hard on the pitch
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A lot of fans made the trip to Barcelona from Perpignan to support their team, the Catalans Dragons
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From the sidelines, members of the Warrington Wolves watch the match along with other members of the technical staff
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The Catalans Dragons brought their cheerleaders with them, pom-poms and all
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Red and yellow were the dominating colours in the crowd, for the Dragons, although there were a good number of green and white strips for the Wolves
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Getting ready to go again...
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Warrington Wolves' Barmy army
There may have been less of them but the Wolves' supporters made up for it with a huge flag
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It was a close match until the middle of the second half, when the Warrington Wolves surged into the lead and managed to retain their winning score until the final 'whistle'
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Players from the two teams shake hands at the end of the match
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There was a small security presence, and they got their own bench to enjoy the match
This month finally sees Europe’s top professional rugby league club competition—the Super League—arrive in Barcelona following three years of rumours, whisperings and debate.
Several thousand rugby league fans are expected to invade the Olympic Stadium on June 20th to witness the momentous match between French outfit the Catalan Dragons and the Warrington Wolves of Cheshire, England. The decision to go ahead with the fixture follows three years of lobbying by the Catalans, who have always advocated the idea of staging a game here, a region where the popularity of the sport is young.
The Director of the Catalan Sports Council (Consell Català de l’Esport) Carles Macian, expressed his delight at finally securing a major rugby league contest for the area, hailing it as an example of when sport “breaks boundaries and unites people.”
He has a point. The Super League is a predominantly English competition with only one of the current crop of 14 teams originating from outside the British Isles, that team being the Catalans Dragons, who derive from the south-western French town of Perpignan. Therefore this month’s contest is all the more groundbreaking as the League branches out to the Iberian Peninsula for the first time in its history.
The Dragons have a substantial fan base throughout Catalunya as a result of their Super League success (they finished third in 2008), and Carles Macian has assured enthusiasts that in Barcelona they will feel “at home”. Both sides have struggled this year and lie tentatively at the wrong end of the table, which should add an extra bit of spice to the encounter.
In an extra treat for rugby league fans, an international match between the Catalan team and that of the Czech Republic will precede the day’s main event at the Olympic Stadium. Both are a sign of things to come for Catalunya’s blossoming affection for rugby and it should be a fine, refreshing sporting occasion for all involved, not to mention a welcoming distraction from the overshadowing success of one FC Barcelona.
Catalans Dragons v Warrington Wolves
June 20th, 2009; 7pm
Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys
Tickets cost from €5 to €20
and are available from ServiCaixa