sport

Fakir relegated to reserves

French international forward Jamal Fakir has been relegeted to Catalan Dragons' reserves following their poor start to the season.

The 31-year-old prop, who is one of only two survivors from the Catalans' first season in Super League in 2006, has been banished to the St Esteve/XIII Catalan team, who play in the French Elite championship, for the rest of their season which ends in May.

In addition, former Leeds full-back Brent Webb has been told to undergo medical tests before he can play for the Dragons again.

The sanctions have been imposed following the Catalans' fourth straight defeat, a 56-4 hammering at Wakefield last Sunday which has left the club in relegation trouble.

In a statement, the club said: "International prop Jamal Fakir has been dropped to reserve grade and will play for Saint-Esteve XIII Catalan until the end of the French Elite championship.

"After failing to find his form and confidence following his back surgery last year, the club will subject Brent Webb to a series of medical tests with the club medical staff to determine the rest of his season.

"There will be no further comment issued by Catalans Dragons on this matter."

Club owner Bernard Guasch was so incensed by the team's performance at Wakefield that he cancelled the planned stay in England ahead of Friday's match at St Helens.

The club have in the past set up camp near Manchester when faced with short-turnarounds but Guasch ordered the players back to Perpignan for crisis talks.

Guasch held a meeting with his chief executive Christophe Jouffet and the coaching team of Laurent Frayssinous and assistants Jerome Guisset and David Waite before flying back to the south of France on Monday morning and the jobs of all three coaches are thought to be safe.

Fakir has made 155 Super League appearances for the Catalans and played for France in the 2013 World Cup.

Webb, 33, joined the Dragons just over 12 months ago following his release by Leeds but made only eight appearances in 2013 due to a back injury.

The former New Zealand international is thought to have experienced personal problems recently and his appearance at Wakefield was only his second of the new season.