Wakefield Trinity boss hoping Six Nations could bring French solution

Michael Carter, Wakefield chairman.Michael Carter, Wakefield chairman.
Michael Carter, Wakefield chairman.
WAKEFIELD Trinity chief executive Michael Carter hopes the Six Nations could end up doing his club and Betfred Super League a favour.

Rugby union’s premier European international competition gets underway on Saturday week when Scotland host England and Ireland entertain Wales.

However, rugby league bosses will have a keen eye on what happens the following day when France welcome Italy to Paris.

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Currently, the French government insists everybody – not just fans but also professional athletes – visiting its sports grounds and stadiums must be vaccinated against Covid.

The number of vaccinated players in Super League is thought to be around the 85 per cent mark meaning a number of players will not be able to travel to France to face Catalans Dragons and Toulouse Olympique when the new season kicks off in a little over a fortnight.

Carter recently conceded six of his Trinity squad were unvaccinated and his club are due to visit Catalans in round two on February 19.

The matter was discussed at Super League’s recent meeting with the RFL, Carter expressing the view the integrity of the competition is under threat if French restrictions are eased later in the season. But he said: “There’s two things. Firstly, what is another solution to that and we talked about a reversal of fixtures and whether that was a consideration.

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“But, secondly, I think they are really hopeful that because the Six Nations is coming up, within the next three or four weeks there might be a relaxing of travel exemptions for professional sport people.

“When you look at us, we’re travelling in and out on the same day, land at Perpignan, are straight on a coach, straight to the ground, have no contact with virtually anyone and then straight back afterwards.

“I think they are hoping there might be some relaxation after the Six Nations.

“The worst case scenario is we might have to travel there without some of our players and, unfortunately for Wakefield, it’s some of our best ones.

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“I’d never pressure anyone into having the vaccination. I’m caught in the middle of that. But it will have a big effect on the quality of the 17 we will be able to put out in Catalans come round two.”

Meanwhile, Catalans coach Steve McNamara has signed a new two-year deal with the beaten Grand Finalists.

The ex-Bradford Bulls and England chief – who led them to a maiden League Leaders’ Shield last term – will remain in Perpignan until the end of 2024.

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