Blanch heading back to Australia


18th September 2013

Catalan Dragons have released winger Damien Blanch from the two years left on his contract to enable him to return to Australia.

The 30-year-old Ireland international has spent the last three seasons in Perpignan, where he scored 42 tries in 70 Super League appearances, after previously playing for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Castleford Tigers.

"The main reason is family," Blanch said. "I left Australia in 2005 and it's a long time to be far from home. After a such long time travelling, I feel it's the right time to get back home.

"I'm looking for other options in Australia to play and also to prepare for life after rugby. I feel lucky to have been able to play professional sport for 10 years. I feel really privileged.

"The last three years at the Catalans have been easily the best of my career. All the French people have made my family very welcome and I want to thank everybody here. I also want to thanks my wife for supporting me during the last 10 years."

Catalan coach Laurent Frayssinous said: "His contribution over the last three seasons has allowed us to improve on the field. After 10 years far from home, I understand his decision to focus on his family."

Dragons chief executive Christophe Jouffret said: "The club respects Damien's decision and we wish him all the best in the future and will keep good memories from his time at the club."