Ex-Wallaby Israel Folau could make his Super League debut as early as next Sunday after his arrival in France last weekend. 

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The controversial 30-year-old, who had his contract terminated by Rugby Australia following homophobic remarks last year, has had to turn to rugby league to get back into professional sport. 

However, the announcement that he was joining Catalan Dragons caused an immediate backlash with one club, Wigan Warriors, even designating their home match with the French-based team next month as their official Pride Day.

Despite the criticism, Folau slipped into France at the weekend and has been getting down to business at his new club with a view to potentially making a debut in next Sunday’s visit to Wakefield in England. 

Speaking to French newspaper L’Equipe, Yannick Rey, the communications manager for the Catalan Dragons, said: “He arrived on Sunday. We did not want to spread the word. We want him to train in complete serenity so that he can play as quickly as possible.”

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Folau’s last match was a Super Rugby game for the Waratahs versus the Blues last April, but Perpignan are hopeful he can quickly dust off the cobwebs and get going on the pitch. 

He met his new team-mates on Monday and was due to take physical tests on Tuesday. “If he is fit to play on Sunday, he will play,” continued the Catalan spokesperson. The French side opened their new campaign with a home defeat to Huddersfield. 

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