Rugby league: Israel Folau's Catalans Super League debut imminent after arrival in France

Former Australian rugby union star Israel Folau
Former Australian rugby union star Israel Folau Photo credit: AAP

Israel Folau has begun training with his new teammates in the south of France, as Catalans Dragons chairman Bernard Guasch prepares to face the music over the controversial signing.

The French Super League club imposed a media blackout, after announcing a week ago that the dual-code international - banned by Rugby Australia last May over homophobic comments on social media - had signed a 12-month contract with them.

Catalans refused to say when the player was due to arrive from Australia and cancelled plans for a press conference, after a barrage of unwelcome publicity.

Folau, who said "hell awaits" gay people, is thought to have flown in earlier this week and was seen arriving at Stade Gilbert Brutus on Wednesday (NZ time).

The Dragons' next match is at Wakefield on Monday (NZ time) and coach Steve McNamara could be tempted to include him in his squad, after losing a host of outside backs to injury.

Meanwhile, Guasch is expected to make a rare appearance at a meeting of Super League clubs in Salford this week to explain his club's behaviour.

Most clubs, along with the Rugby Football League and Super League, have publicly stated their opposition to the signing and requested for Guasch to attend a routine get-together, but with the Folau signing set to come under scrutiny.

Folau claimed religious discrimination and sued Rugby Australia, after it terminated his contract, settling in December.

Guasch insists the Dragons do not agree with Folau's views, and says they signed an agreement with the RFL that any transgression would trigger an immediate termination of the player's contract and a substantial fine for the club.