William Barthau is proud of the resilience that his team showed in their Rugby League World Cup 2013 Group B campaign, as France look ahead to their Quarter-Final tie with England at the DW Stadium, Wigan, on Saturday (8.00pm).
Pooled in a tough group alongside Papua New Guinea, Samoa and defending World Cup champions New Zealand, France qualified for the Quarter-Finals by getting the single victory they ultimately needed to progress in the tournament.
Barthau, who plays his club Rugby League for Catalan Dragons, is proud of the way his side has handled such a tough group, as they now look to their quarter-final with England which, if they win, could set up another tie with New Zealand in the Semi-Finals at Wembley.
“All the hard work we have done for each other over the last four weeks has paid off with the way that we have defended until the end,” said Barthau.
“We are positive. Obviously there is possibly of the big team of New Zealand at Wembley but we worked as hard as we can to get as high as we could in that group and obviously now to get to the Quarter-Final stage.”
After a disappointing warm-up match against the USA, in which the Tomahawks triumphed to start their own impressive World Cup journey, France played Papua New Guinea in their first RLWC2013 fixture and got the win that ultimately saw them through to the last eight of the tournament in what was one of the closest matches so far – France winning 9-8.
“The rollercoaster was full on there against Papua New Guinea,” said Barthau. “That game was won about 25 minutes from the end with a drop-goal.
“Against PNG I felt like God was with the French team, after the agony there was ecstasy and there was agony, so it was up and down. I felt that all my prayers got answered by the Jesus of Rugby League.”
France head coach Richard Agar has named his 19 man squad to play England at DW Stadium on Saturday (20:00)