Rugby League: Israel Folau named in Catalans Dragons' squad for clash with Castleford Tigers

Israel Folau has moved a step closer to making his Super League debut, after being named in Catalans Dragons' 21-man squad for Sunday's (NZ time) match against the Castleford Tigers.

The 30-year-old former Wallabies and NSW Waratahs star has not played since being sacked by Rugby Australia last May for posting homophobic comments on social media, and his last rugby league game was 10 years.

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 and coach Steve McNamara says "he looks in really good shape".

His likely presence at the Stade Gilbert Brutus in Perpignan will heighten interest in the fixture, after Folau's signing was fiercely opposed by both Super League and the Rugby Football League (RFL), as well as most clubs.

The RFL said it was powerless to prevent his registration, but Super League clubs voted a week ago to implement measures to prevent such a controversial signing in future.

Folau's inclusion in the squad comes as no surprise to Castleford coach Daryl Powell, who says the dual-code international will take time to re-adjust to the 13-man game.

"He's a good player, an outstanding player, and it will be interesting to see how he fits back in," said Powell.

"It does take a bit of time to adjust back to the game when you've been out so long. Sonny Bill Willaims saw that last week, although it is different when you're playing in the outside backs."

AAP

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