Michael McIlorum: Catalans Dragons hooker relishes change of lifestyle in Perpignan

Michael McIlorum
Michael McIlorum won the Super League title during his 14 years with Wigan Warriors

Catalans Dragons hooker Micky McIlorum is relishing the challenge of a new environment in southern France after 14 years at Wigan Warriors.

The 30-year-old who played for Ireland at the 2017 World Cup, ended his association with Wigan last month to join the Perpignan-based Dragons.

"There are no pies," Leeds-born McIlorum told BBC Radio Manchester.

"But the lifestyle side of things is something I always wanted to do, the south of France is a beautiful place."

In Perpignan, there is a different climate, and style of rugby league on offer, but McIlorum is aware there is a job to do.

"I want to do something there, not just relax and rest on my laurels," the former England international said. "I want to achieve things there and improve."

Benjamin Jullien and Samisoni Langi
Catalans recruited during the winter, including Benjamin Jullien and Samisoni Langi

Catalans lost 40-12 to Widnes in their opening game of the season, a chastening defeat that "surprised" head coach Steve McNamara.

The Dragons had a number of players at the recent World Cup, including eight members of the France squad

"We're just as behind as any other teams," added McIlorum, whose involvement with Ireland ended at the group stage despite winning two of their three games.

"There's no excuse, we've had four weeks together which is enough time. What we dished up just wasn't good enough."

McIlorum's first taste of the Stade Gilbert Brutus brings St Helens to the Roussillon region - Wigan's fiercest rivals within Super League.

Saints demolished last season's League Leaders Shield winners Castleford in their opener, and have Man of Steel favourite Ben Barba in their squad.

"My love for Saints will never die," McIlorum laughed.

"I'm looking forward to that, and on the back of this bad performance and defeat against Widnes we want to put a few wrongs right.

"There's no better challenge, everyone is tipping Saints so there's no kicking stones this next week, we've got to get on with it."