WORLD championship-winning Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson says British rugby league “looks down their noses” at the French.
Speaking in the wake of the furore over Catalans being asked to pay a £500,000 bond to defend their Challenge Cup title, Robinson says the English treat the French exactly the way they feel they are being treated by the NRL.
“They often ask questions about the need to globalise the game by having more assistance from the NRL,” Robinson told Australian Associated Press reporter Ian McCullough, in comments that have not previously been reported.
“But I think their view of the French and the game there needs to develop as well.
“The Super League clubs have always claimed the Australian game looks down their noses at them, which is not true at all. But it’s exactly what they do to the game in France.”
Catalans have been permitted to defend their title after talks with the Rugby Football League which are understood to have resulted in them accepting a smaller slice of the gate for the final – and perhaps a semi-final – than their would-be British opponents will receive.
Toronto were not readmitted – on the basis that the draw for the competition was originally done with Catalans in but the Wolfpack out.
Robinson, who coached the Perpignan-based club in 2011 and 2012, said the 20-14 Challenge Cup final win over Warrington last year was a proud moment.
“It had all the ingredients: a French team, Catalans Dragons winning, Steve Mac (McNamara) being there and it is huge for rugby league,” the 41-year-old said.
“That is not probably how they saw it in England with the cup leaving their shores, but if they took a secondary look at it they will recognise that.
“They need to stop seeing them as poorer cousins they need to see them as being an important part of developing rugby league. What the Catalans did was a huge thing for rugby league in the northern hemisphere.
“I think growing that spirit of rugby league took a step forward and some people need to follow suit.
“The French have always been that smaller nation in rugby league and been made to feel that they are a small nation and this was the one time where they could stop and say: ‘no, we’re good enough’.”
On Thursday night, Catalans were defeated 22-12 by Wakefield Trinity at the Mobile Rocket Stadium. Visiting fullback Sam Tomkins was reported for making contact with referee Chris Kendall while Papua New Guinea Test star suffered what could be a long-term knee injury.