Catalans sign controversial Bird

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Catalan Dragons have completed the signing of the controversial Australia player Greg Bird and caused a row among their Super League rivals.

The 25-year-old, whose move to Bradford fell through when he was denied a visa by the British High Commission, was unveiled as a Dragons player in Perpignan yesterday. Bird is due in court in Sydney next month on charges of reckless wounding, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two charges of lying to police, following an alleged attack on his girlfriend.

Bird's initial move to Bradford was condemned as "a blow to the reputation of Super League" by the Leeds chief executive, Gary Hetherington, who argued England should not become a "dumping ground for other people's problems" and yesterday he stood by his comments.

Bird is a direct replacement for the France international Sébastien Raguin, who is out until 2010 with a knee injury.