"Limoux, dared, attempted... but to follow in the footsteps of those from 1968, the "red and black" from the Upper Valley offered a game plan that was too readable, which made the task of the Lézignan defence easier. The Limouxins also suffered from a poor kicking game, ball control and in some of their tactical choices. Most especially in not taking two well-placed penalties in the first and second stanzas. Even though offering a performance that was a touch below their opponents, Limoux had a match-winning opportunity through Wagon advancing the ball into the in-goal off a kick through from his captain - a try not confirmed by the video referee."
Luke scored one of the 2 Limouxin tries and should look back on his season of French football with great satisfaction despite feeling the temporary emptiness of this loss.
Luke Towers will finish his 'French' adventure playing for the Limoux Grizzlies in the Élite 1 Grand Final against Lézignan on the 'Sports and Friendship Field' at Narbonne [refer map to right of Carcassonne], though judging from the intensity of the preliminary final against Pia, the tone of the game will hardly be one of 'friendship'!
Limoux face the inevitable wait to see if injuries will deplete their side, as always happens at season end. They have beaten Lézignan in both their competition encounters and shared top-of-the-table with Lézignan but Lézignan finished well ahead of them in points for and against so the final will be a nail-biting affair.
Limoux supporters have a lot in common with those who support the Royal Blue. Premierships are rare but they show great loyalty and affection to their club and players. All Newtown supporters will be wishing Luke and the Grizzlies well - Let's hope Luke has a tremendous game and contributes to a memorable victory.
Go the Grizzlies!
Limoux has won through to the preliminary final of the French Élite 1 competition, winning 40-24 but the score does not reflect the closeness of the match - Limoux scored 6 tries and Villeneuve 5, the difference being the accuracy of the kicking by the Grizzlies five-eighth, Ramage.
Luke Towers did not score but was credited with a brilliant pass that put teammate Mayans over the line. He and Captain Mickaël Murcia were named as the best players for the Grizzlies. What a season Luke is having!
Read the match report - just translate it into "funny English".
Third on the table, Pia, came to the Grizzlies' home ground, the Needle, and departed with the spoils of victory.
Pia led at the break, 8-0. Limoux hit back early in the second half with a try by Luke Towers, which raised the spirits of the home crowd, but the Grizzlies could only add a penalty goal to their converted try and lost 22-8.
Limoux must now defeat 4th-placed Villeneuve next weekend if they are to advance in the playoffs.
After the final round of the Élite 1 competition, Luke Towers' Limoux Grizzlies share top billing on the league table, just pipped by 12 points by Lézignan who struggled to overcome 3rd placed Pia. Luke Towers contributed 2 tries to the Grizzlies' 34-20 scoreline.
First round of the play-offs is our Anzac weekend when Limoux will take on Pia on their home ground, the Needle.
After three weeks between games, Luke Towers' Grizzlies won a handsome victory, 60-14, over Avignon on their home ground. Daniel Wagon scored one of the 10 tries but for the first time in many games, Luke went tryless.
The competition rounds end next weekend in a "Magic weekend of Rugby League" and the quirkiness of the draw means that Limoux plays Avignon again. Limoux sits 2nd on the ladder on equal points with the leader, Lézignan, but 12 behind on points difference.
Playoffs start 22 April and the Grand Final is the weekend of 14-15 May. Good luck to the "red and black" and our "Lucky Luke".
Jason Baitieri's Catalan Dragons scored a narrow victory over Warrington last weekend and now sit just outside the 8 on the competition table. Jason played from the bench.
Grizzlies Forum is alight with the excitement of a close win by their team over Lézignan. The two teams were one point apart on the ladder and now Limoux is temporarily first after a close win, 18-14. Lézignan has a match in hand and plays Pia this wednesday.
In what was apparently cold, wet, maybe even sleety conditions, the teams scored the same number of tries  and the difference was the accurate goal-kicking of their five-eighth, Philippe Ramage.
Luke Towers played a significant role in securing Limoux's 80 points against Montpellier's 10 - he scored 4 tries and set up three - one with a switch to the wing, one with a break through the line and one by mesmerising the defence.
The journalist writing the match report had trouble finding the words for this amazing display - "l'inévitable Towers fait parler ses jambes de feu dès la cinquième minute", [the inevitable Towers makes his legs of fire talk in the 5th minute], "Encore Towers qui provoque le décalage sur l'aile pour Marrot" [Again Towers switches play to the wing for Marrot to score], "c'est encore Towers qui fixe la défense..." [it's again Towers who mesmerises the defence...], "L'arbitre a-t-il eu le temps de relancer la partie que le phénomène Towers prend l'intervalle gagnant" [the referee had hardly had time to get play restarted than the Towers phenomenon finds space".
"Annoyed at their elimination from the Cup of France, the Limouxin 13 didn't take long to get into the match against Saint Gaudens and fullback Towers waited only three minutes to cross the line. A short interval later, and that same player scored again... In the 46th minute, fullback Towers slipped through the blue defence and put the "leather" down under the bar." [from the French match report]
Jason Baitieri and Lopini Paea's Catalans Dragons also registered a win over the weekend - their first for the new Super League season.
It wasn't an Élite 1 championship game but Limoux supporters were very disappointed to lose 22-36 to Saint-Estève whose team featured a number of players who had dropped back from the Super League Catalans club to strengthen their team. Now Limoux has to put all its energy into winning the championship, starting with its next game against Toulouse, 27 March.
The Limouxin supporters were thrilled by yet another victory in their local derby against Carcassonne. They expressed great satisfaction at both the victory and the crowd of 6000 enthusiastic league supporters who attended the game.
Limoux scored 4 tries, converted 2. Luke Towers scored three of the four and was named man of the match. He is still the leading try scorer in the competition and his tries were a delight.
Watch them yourselves on OrangeSport video - Try 1, 10th minute, saw Luke running through to ground the ball off a kick through; Try 2, a few minutes later, from an inside pass from Daniel Wagon, Luke ran from his side of halfway, stepping and at speed, to score under the bar; Try 3, i54th minute, Luke received the ball about 30 metres out and just ran through the defenders to score out wide. The commentators were ecstatic about his speed, acceleration and step.
The Grizzlies took on the strong equal 2nd placed Pia on Sunday 6 February and came away victors with a healthy scoreline of 50-34. Lots of tries obviously - Luke scored 2.
The match report was again effusive about Luke's prowess.
Comments from the Limoux forum: "This group... is a pleasure to watch play" and "They reward us sunday after sunday... we aren't far from the great 1968 [when Limoux won the premiership. Got to believe!"
Despite there being no score after 25 minutes, the Grizzlies recorded a handsome victory, scoring 9 tries. Grizzlies forward, Sylvain Teixido, scored a hat trick of tries and Luke Towers 2 - Luke's second coming through a 50-metre break downfield with one minute to go in the game!
Limoux played away to the Villeneuve Leopards and only just managed to win against their 6th placed opponents.
At half-time, the scores were locked at 10-10 and a rueful comment on the Grizzlies forum probably summed up the way Limoux were playing - "Don't risk a penalty 20 out from your line, especially when the scores are tight!" - Shades of some of our 2010 Newtown performances.
The best thing for Newtown supporters about the Villveneuve game is that the Villeneuve club have already posted photos of the game. Many many photos in the game gallery but a chance to see "Lucky Luke" Towers in the red and black, as well as the hardened band of red and black supporters cheering their team on from the stand!
The game against St Estève-Catalan did not deliver the sparkling attack that Grizzlies supporters were used to - a dour first half with some excitement in the second half. However, a victory at their first home game for 2011 was always going to be welcome. No news yet [Monday morning] on try scorers or player performances. Watch for update.
With two clever tries to his credit and playing at 6 because of a reshuffled lineup, Luke Towers has started 2011 with a sparkle and his "will-o'-the-wisp" [le feu follet] and "this damned Towers fellow" [ce diable de Towers] epithets have returned in the Carpentras match report. Try the auto-translation - even its clumsy expressions will give you a sense of the Limoux-Carpentras game.
The Grizzlies taste success in their first match of 2011
Luke Towers spent Christmas in Sydney with his family and is back in France for the return rounds of the Élite 1 season. His Limoux team played away at Carpentras for the first game of 2011 and won handsomely, 35-10.
A number of key players were absent because of injury and suspension, so the victory is even more commendable.
A further plus from the game is the points differential. The Grizzlies are, as one of the Grizzlies forum members put it, "nibbling away" at the points lead of Pia, the team who share 2nd place with them.
Grizzlies supporters are just like Newtown supporters. After a great away victory, they are exhorting everyone to get to their home ground, the Needle, for the next game. "Venez nombreux pour les soutenir". [Come in numbers to support them]
Limoux takes on Carpentras 9 January
The Grizzlies ended the first phase of the championship tied for 2nd on the ladder but in 3rd position on points for and against, with Lézignan returning to top spot because of their win over Villeneuve in their rescheduled match.
Though disappointing, the Grizzlies' one-try loss to Avignon can be partly explained by their losing their talented hooker, Sam Key, early in the first half of the game, when they were leading 16-0. Unfortunately, Sam and the Grizzlies' talented captain-coach, Daniel Wagon, may be missing from the Carpentras game because of suspensions hanging over from the torrid Lézignan game.
The super league competition for Lopini and Jason starts officially 12 February but the Catalan Dragons are playing "un match amical" [trial] against Toulouse 22 January.
Luke makes the French rugby league mid-season top 13
Luke Towers was the only Limouxin player to feature in the French rugby league's mid-season top thirteen, clearly demonstrating how his skills and speed have delilghted rugby league supporters in the south-west.
A number of the top XIII are from the super league Catalan Dragons, including an ex-Limouxin, David Ferriol, so hopefully Luke will get the chance to test his skills at some point in the Super League.
A close game with contributions from Luke Towers and Dan the Australian!
Luke scored a try in the second half to bring the scores level and Daniel Wagon then took Limoux ahead but in the end that wasn't enough.
The second half got off badly for the Limouxin XIII who conceded a try in the 47th minute through Kelly, then another through the winger Escapa because of a monumental defensive error by the "red and black". But no one counted on the fantastic red and black fullback, Towers who mystified the blue and white defence : Limoux 22-Avignon 22".
Then it's Wagon's turn to show direction and Limoux goes ahead on the scoreboard in the 58th minute. But only for a short time, because the second rower Pourret throws everything back into question. There follows a new try by Kelly [Avignon], then a field goal to the locals through their fullback Amos: Limoux 28-Avignon 35. Limoux replies through Blackwood but the try isn't converted. A penalty to Avignon in the 80th minute closes out the game with a victory to Avignon to the detriment of the [championship] leader.
The loss means that Limoux drops to third on the ladder, on 24 pts, behind Lézignan who went to 25 pts with their 28 to 16 victory over Carcassonne and Pia who, though on the same points, have a slightly better for and against. Avignon is fourth on the ladder with 22 pts.
Alas, Limoux lose a close game in Avignon
Just pulled from the Grizzlies forum:
The posts also mentioned injuries to the Limoux players so will be watching reports to see who is injured.
Something to please all rugby league supporters
On the forum of the Limoux RL website, there were posts about Luke and his tries ["each try better than the last"], an explanation of why he gets the nickname, Lucky Luke, ["He has legs of fire for sure. The nickname, Lucky Luke, suits him to a T: He runs faster than his shadow"] and a comment about the really lovely way that the 'foreigners', that means the Welsh as well as the Aussies, behave off the pitch - leur "gentillesse", which implies everything that we feel we get from the great young fellows who wear the Royal Blue!
"Will-o'-the-wisp" Towers scores the 2nd try in Limoux victory
Limoux started out with great energy and speed, and scored twice in the first quarter, a penalty in the 10th minute and a try in the 12th then... "Wynn [Lézignan player], having made a great break, is penalised for foul language and gets 10 in the bin. The "red and black" [Limoux] take the opportunity to register another try through the will-o'-the-wisp Towers [19th minute]"
Limoux victorious over Lézignan FCL 43-18
Some posts from the Limoux Grizzlies forum
"Does anyone know the score?'
Luke interviewed on the official French Rugby league site
"Since the start of the competition, Luke Towers has been driving opposition defences crazy, with 9 tries to his name. This exceptionally talented 21 year old had evolved the previous season in the reserve team for the Sydney Roosters, along side Jason Baitieri, one of the Dragon recruits. A small-sized guy [1.76 m and 81 kg] but already a great player. Limoux has made a good choice. Interview with the speedy fullback of the Audois club [= Limoux is in the Aude department of the Languedoc region]"
If you want to read a rough translation of the interview, paste "http://vse99941.nfrance.com/~v1000/actualites.php?a=638" into the translation engine, Babel Fish.
Limoux down the Catalan feeder club and Luke gets a hat trick
"A second heart-stopping act
From the resumption [= 2nd half], the game speeds up, which pleases Towers, who gathers a ball kicked through by Murcia and Limoux pulls clear. [45th minute]. Key then makes a break and offers a try ball to... Towers [48th minute]. On a kick pass, Marginet sends the winger Nauroy to score in the corner - good hit back by the catalans [53rd minute]. But this damn Towers stands up his opposite number [probable translation] and crosses the line again [56th min]. Limoux 32- Saint-Esteve-XIII Catalan 14."
Luke Towers scores a try and 6 goals in the Limouxin victory
Luke also set up a try for his Centre, Reffle, with a break in the 25th minute. He converted 6 of the 7 tries. A convincing victory to the "red and black", 40-18, which moves them to 3rd on the ladder.
Luke also figured in the second report on the match: "Impetuosity is only dangerous if it is well controlled and Fullback Towers, with a run of more than 80 metres, made [the Montpellier team] remember that... [stand-out players] Valentin Dominguez who, as games go by, takes more and more to get around, just like Key, second rower Herold-Almarcha, the strategist Wagon, the kicks of Mickael Murcia, the unstoppable Towers, ['l'intenable Towers'] the hitups of Braconnier and Pramil, and the commitment of the rest of the team."Match report
19 november 2010 - Luke's speed dazzles the French crowds
In the last three weeks, the Limoux Grizzlies have won their last three games and moved up the competition ladder to 4th. They had strong wins against Pia and AS Carcassonne - both teams were above them on the ladder, though Carcassonne have now slipped to 5th.
Luke scored tries in each of the three outings.
19 November 2010 - Lopini and Jason start training with the Catalans Dragons
Lopin Paea and Jason Baitieri now grace the splash page banner on the Dragons website, along side other Australian players signed by the Dragons - Ian Henderson, Scott Dureau, Ben Farrer, Scott Dureau and Steve Menzies.
The boys are now at training under the direction of coach, Trent Robinson, formerly with the Roosters, Newcastle and Parramatta.
"The first day of full team training was Monday and the staff took them through individual technique training and speed tests "before ending the day with a weights session" [séance de musculation]."
Jason had a busy October. His dual French-Australian citizenship gave him the opportunity to represent France in the Coupe d'Europe. The French team, usually referred to as "the Blues" ["les Bleus"] crushed the Irish team 54-24. Jason scored one of France's 11 tries.
France went on to secure victory over Scotland [26-12] but they just failed in the final [11-12] against Wales, which now fields a team, the Crusaders, in the Super League competition. The Final's loss means that France could miss out competing in the 2011 Four Nations Cup. [Update - France will play because Australia has pulled out!]
Former Jets in France
Three players who graced the Henson Park pitch in 2010 are now playing in Southern France.