Navarrete’s journey from delivery driver to Warriors side

Romain Navarrete thought his Super League dream had slipped by
Romain Navarrete thought his Super League dream had slipped by

From deliver driver to the Wigan first-team, Romain Navarrete has come a long way in the last 12 months.

The 22-year-old cut his teeth in France with Pia and Limoux before a stint in England with lower-league outfit Hemel Stags in 2014.

He returned home to join Catalans but this time last year, he feared his Super League dream had gone.

He couldn’t force his way into Laurent Fraysinnous’s plans, and was working as a deliver driver while he trained with the Dragons reserves.

Determined to crack into the senior side, Navarrete quit his job to focus on training - and was rewarded when he figured in 11 games at the back end of last season.

Shaun Wane noticed his strong performances from the Catalans bench, and moved to recruit him.

As Navarrete prepares to face his old club tomorrow afternoon, he admits he sometimes can not believe the amount his life has changed in the last few months.

He said: “At this time last year, no I didn’t think I would play Super League.

“It’s hard at the Dragons, if you’re a French boy he doesn’t give you a lot of chances.

“Last year, at this time I played in reserves and worked, I was a delivery driver.

“I worked 5am until 12pm, and then later I’d train with the reserves. But I went to Bernard Guash in his office and said, ‘I want to stop work and focus on my rugby.’ So I left the job, and it worked out.

“I played some games and then I left the Dragons for Wigan.

“Sometimes when I stop and think of what has happened - I think it’s gone quick.”

Navarette, who played for France against England at the end of last year, has been signed by Wane as a ‘project player’.

Wane has had success developing players like Anthony Gelling, Ben Flower and Dan Sarginson, and the energetic prop enjoy’s the coaching style.

“The coach for Dragons doesn’t want the same things as Shaun,” he smiled.

“Shaun always wants more. If you do that, he wants more than that, and if you do that, he wants more than that! He never stops, but it’s good, he wants you to get better - he speaks a lot.

“When I wasn’t in the squad two weeks ago, he called me into his office and told me, ‘You need to get better on this and this’ - he is honest, he lets you know what to work on to get back into the team.”