Fouad YAHA: from Super League to TOP 14
Just like his former teammate and friend Tony Gigot, Fouad started his career in rugby league in Avignon (15 yo), his childhood town. After only two seasons, he joined the Catalans Dragons and entered Thierry Dumaine’s U19 group. Within three months, he started off in Super League in 2015, and then took part in the World Cup 2017.
After thunderous beginnings in 2015, he exceeded some of the most experienced props and lifted himself as an indisputable starter in 2016. Maxence then intervened as an intermediary for the signature of a very first professional contrat between the Catalan Dragons and Fouad.
Fouad reached the height of his improvement in 2018. Indeed, his participation during the World Cup in Australia allowed him to confront himself to some of the worldwide references in his position, and therefore to see what aspects to improve in order to become one of the best props in Super League. In addition, he benefited from Steve McNamara, new coach of the Catalans Dragons, and his strong background as former coach of the English rugby league team and former coach in NRL. Fouad’s work and efforts eventually paid off as he distinguished himself as one of the best props in Super League during season 2018.
Last August, the Dragons became the first French team ever to win the Challenge Cup. Fouad widely contributed to this victory after a superb season for which he was awarded the prize of the best try scorer during the club’s end of season gala 2018. Fouad, backed by a first challenged with his catalan club has many new projects in mind. And in particular, to join a TOP 14 club in order to fulfil his dream to play rugby union.
After very moving farewells from his teammates and supporters, Fouad has chosen to have a go at playing rugby union with Sporting Union Agen (SUA). It’s a decisive moment in the prop’s career whom we supported as intermediary to process his evolution from Perpignan to Agen.
“Fouad is a player with strong physical potential. He is very powerful, he scores many tries and really made a difference when he played rugby league. He’s a finisher and his athletic qualities are very interesting to us. It’s the reason why we wanted him to come. Indeed, there are many differences between rugby league and rugby union. But it’s our job to train and help him in this evolution. He has to practice a number of things such as tackling, the defensive situation, and rucking, all of which don’t exist in rugby league. We are supporting him to put him in good conditions. He provided a very decent performance during his first match. He got the ball and scored a try. That’s what we were looking for when recruiting him.” Mauricio REGGIARDO, SUA manager, Midi Olympique
Author of a first try during the match between Agen and Harlequins last October, Fouad then pursued his training among the club’s Espoir group, allowing him to further deepen certain aspects of rugby union. During the Challenge Cup’s third match against Grenoble, Fouad scored his second try under the colours of Agen!
How is your adaptation going in Agen, and more generally speaking, in rugby union?
“I’m adapting well. I’m improving more and more everyday and actually I’m starting to acquire the right automatic reflexes.”
What are your objectives for the season to come?
“My primary objective is to play the most games possible, to be efficient, and score every time!”
What do you retain from your relationship with Maxence?
“Maxence and I have a really good relationship. I even consider him like a person of my own family.”
Source : Dragons Catalans / Fouad Yaha 2017