Pala hopes to bring French flair to Centurions

Mathias Pala is welcomed to Leigh by head of rugby Derek Beaumont
Mathias Pala is welcomed to Leigh by head of rugby Derek Beaumont
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Mathias Pala has arrived at Leigh Centurions and is ready to fight for a starting spot.

The 26-year-old Frenchman will make his club debut in the Reserves Championship game against Dewsbury Rams at Leigh East on Thursday.

The French international centre, who was formerly with Catalans Dragons, arrived in the UK on Tuesday,

Born in Limoux of Italian descent, Pala came through the ranks of his home town club and has also played for Balmain Tigers in Australia and St Esteve. He made his Super League debut for the Dragons against Bradford Bulls in 2011 and made 33 appearances for the club, scoring four tries.

Pala made his international debut for France against England in 2011 and played for France against Ireland, Wales and Scotland in the 2014 European Championship series, featuring in the final two games as fullback and scoring two tries in the victory over Wales.

“I am delighted to join Leigh Centurions and this is a new start for me,” Pala said. “Since the club first expressed an interest I have been following their matches on Leigh Centurions TV and I am very excited about playing in a side that plays such great rugby league.

“I enjoyed my time at Catalans but it was time for me to move on and establish myself elsewhere. I have left on good terms and my former coaches and teammates have wished me well.

“The facilities at Leigh Sports Village are fantastic and I am looking forward to getting to know my new team-mates and challenging for a place in the team. Everyone has been very friendly and welcoming and I can’t wait to get started.”

Pala, who will be allocated squad number 31, will live close to the stadium and will soon be joined by his wife and two-year-old son. “Everyone speaks well of Leigh and I know my friend Damien Couturier enjoyed his time at the club a few years ago,” he added. “The club has big ambitions and I hope to help them achieve their dreams of getting into Super League.”