CATALANS DRAGONS say their historic appearance at Wembley on Saturday for the Carnegie Challenge Cup Final has already revitalised rugby league in France.
But one of their former players is predicting even bigger things for the sport in his homeland if they can pull off a shock triumph.
Victory over red-hot favourites St Helens would see the trophy leave England for the first time in the competition's 110-year history.
And it would provide the perfect boost for the sport in a rugby union mad country, which is just two weeks away from staging the 15- man code's World Cup.
French international Julien Rinaldi spent three years helping establish the Dragons as a viable addition to Super League before leaving the club to join Harlequins RL for this campaign.
Rinaldi believes the Wembley final is a turning point for league in France. He said: "This match could change attitudes to the sport in France and I will be there along with my family supporting the Dragons. I am sure all the neutrals will support the Dragons, who will bring Catalan passion to the new Wembley..
"A lot of hard work has gone into this moment because the rest of league in France is amateur and reaching the final will help the sport grow. No one will give the Dragons a chance, but that was the case in the semi-finals when they beat Wigan and anything is possible on Saturday." The Dragons have arranged charter flights to bring 2,500 of their supporters from Perpignan for the first ever appearance in the final by a French club in what is also be the first Challenge Cup Final at Wembley since 1999. …