13 ex-Super League players now plying their trade in France’s Elite One rugby league competition

A strong French national competition is a must going forward into the near and long-term future.

With the development of the Catalans Dragons and Toulouse Olympique, French rugby league has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the past decade or so, but more could still be done.

The French national team has underperformed in international tournaments and fixtures which is perhaps surprising given the bulk of the side is made up of Catalans players.

But, just how good would it be if that French side, in the future, was made up of a majority of those playing in the French Elite One competition?

In recent years, a whole host of big names have gone to l’Hexagon to ply their trade, with 13 big former Super League names currently dotted around the nation.

Those 13 are: Jason Baitieri, Jason Clark, Morgan Escare, Mitch Garbutt, Tony Gigot, Benjamin Jullien, James Maloney, Hakim Miloudi, Corey Norman, Joseph Paulo, Maxime Puech, James Segeyaro, Dean Whare.

Look at that class of player that the French league is currently attracting. Of course, there is the added attraction of the French culture – sun, sea, sand for most of the year as opposed to the cold and frosty winters in the UK.

More English players have also made the move to Catalans and Toulouse in recent years – look at Sam Tomkins, Michael McIlorum, Mike McMeeken, Matty Russell and Olly Ashall-Bott.

France appeals! And this can only be good for the development of rugby league in the nation, especially with the next Rugby League World Cup being held in France itself.

That should be the target that French clubs and officials are aiming towards. Build up that infrastructure, build up those French rugby league sides and put on a spectacle that shows that l’Hexagon is on its way back and that it is here to enhance the 13-man code.