Catalans Dragons have appointed Neil McIlroy as Sporting Director.
He will join the staff on 1st October and will help and support Steve McNamara and Alex Chan.
McIlroy, 54, is a former Scottish Rugby Union player. He then joined the ASM Clermont staff as video analyst before having been appointed Team Manager. He left the Top 14 club in 2021 after nineteen successful years.
He will supervise the Sporting department, the player development system, the Academy, from the U16 to the reserve team, the club Campus and will liaise with the administrative staff, also managed by Head of Commercial Christophe Levy.
Bernard Guasch, Catalans Dragons Chairman, is happy to bring in someone tried and tested in the field: “The season we had won’t affect our ambitions. We still want and we still have to improve to achieve our goals, which are winning titles.
“Neil McIlroy helped Clermont to establish as one of the biggest Top 14 clubs. He arrives to bring us his experience and expertise of the professionalism, in particular in the development of young players.”
Neil McIlroy, Catalans Dragons’ new Sporting Director, was equally as excited about joining: “Following a visit to see how the Dragons work, organised by ‘mutual friend’ Franck Azema, the Club talked to me about a potential role within the Direction of the organisation.
“Despite having possibilities with World Rugby overseas, I was rapidly impressed by the passion, spirit and ambition of President Bernard Guasch and Head Coach Steve McNamara.
“It quickly became clear that we had a common vision and that this was a good club run by good people, working very hard. I believe that they can give me what I need at this point in my career and that I can help with the organisation, development and structure at the Club.
“Having been to recent games I was also reminded of the passion and fervour of the Catalan supporters. It is both great to see and hear.
“The Dragons is a unique Club, something that we should all be proud of, and that makes the challenge all the more exciting for me. The bar has been set over the last 3 or 4 years.
“Now we need to raise our level to become Champions, to encourage and develop our junior programme, and also make sure that Sponsors and Supporters are proud to be associated with the Club.”
Steve McNamara, Catalans Dragons Head Coach, hailed the decision as ‘one of the best in recent times’: “The club’s decision to appoint Neil is one of the best we have made in recent times.
“His world class experience and success at a huge organization like ASM Clermont both in the sports and administration departments will be a huge asset for us. He is exactly the type of appointment we have been looking for to help continue the growth of our whole club.”