Catalans Dragons have been given the go-ahead to start preseason training but they will do so without Israel Folau and new signing Dean Whare.
Former Wallabies and Kangaroos international Israel Folau has signed a new deal with Catalans Dragons, keeping him in Super League until the end of 2021.
The 31-year-old reverted back to playing league at the start of this year in the wake of his sacking by Rugby Australia for posting homophobic comments on social media.
Catalans gave Folau an opportunity to rebuild his career in France – despite making clear they did not support his views – and the back made three appearances for them before the coronavirus shutdown.
He was initially signed up for a year, but will now stay with the club until the end of next season.
“Me and my family are very excited to stay on at the club for season 2021,” Folau said.
“We’re very grateful for the opportunity that the Dragons have given me. I’m looking forward to working hard and achieving great success on the field with my teammates and this great club.”
Folau impressed coach Steve McNamara in his short stint before the lockdown and the former England boss expects there is more to come, with his squad returning to training next week ahead of Super League’s restart at the beginning of August.
“We are delighted that Israel has committed to the Dragons for 2021,” he said.
“The most impressive asset he showed in the short period before the confinement was his willingness to work hard for the team.
“On top of that he clearly is a great athlete with a tremendous skill set. We look forward to seeing him continually improve and have an even greater influence over the team’s performances through 2020 and 2021.”