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What’s the Future for the Elite 1 Selection?

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Elite Selection 1, and after?



After the final result of the match between the Dragons and the selection of French Elite 1 players, how can these players work and progress?

The French championship being what it is and the Dragons and TO squads being composed of many foreigners, the French team is obliged to call on a number of players from our domestic championship. "Obligated" because, as this match proved, the gap is indeed present. It will be highlighted that this group had only a few days of preparation but they also had the advantage of being in full competition unlike the Dragons, whose first match in months. It will be said that one compensates for the other.

A significant level difference

This difference in level is not necessarily explained simply because of the level of play of the competition in which the players play but also because of the preparation and level for training, as demonstrated in the second period with Dragons composed mainly of Elite team players. But they take advantage of the professional structures of the Dragons and rub shoulders with Super League players regularly. One word therefore: professionalism, at all levels. If everyone agrees that the prospect of an entire championship or even just a few 100% professional teams in France is far away, the question then arises as to whether we can't take a first step for the best players in our championship, those we saw this weekend.

A "Club France", not only on paper

The new federal management has announced the creation of a "Club France". This is not the first time we have seen such initiatives, but something concrete must happen. The preparation match against the Dragons is a minimum. It's even more a helping hand for the Dragons than a real opportunity for the "Club France".

We hope to see the development of structures (a training center should come out of the ground), groupings and even contracts for this group. It seems to me that this is the union minimum to have players who can look at their Championship and Super League counterparts eye in eye. They will then also advance their respective clubs as can the arrival of foreign players or the return of former Dragons players. Proof of this is with Avignon, transfigured thanks to the Jouffret-Gigot association. Will ask the question of means of course, but this federal team was also chosen for that.

Which players? What program?

The group against the Dracs was composed of 21 players, not obliged to have such a "Club France". Between SL and Championship players, seats will be expensive and limited. In the ladle, 4 or 5 players will hope to join Les Bleus for the World Cup. A core of 8-10 can be more than enough to prime the pump. A new goal for players, which would allow them to hope for a professional future without leaving their club. All that remains is to add Elite players to this core, as was done for the entire team this year.

As for the program, the preparation match against the Dragons must become a regular appointment. Add to that a match against the TO at the same time and you already have two games at the beginning of the year. When circumstances have returned to normal, other English clubs may also be interested. Why not also imagine a confrontation against a League 1 or Championship selection during the season or at the end of the year. Of course, the national calendar will have to adapt and leave priority to selection.

The Challenge Cup

Last personal idea out of the hat: a participation in the Challenge Cup. A few years ago, the best French teams competed against the English teams. Even allowing the TO to reach the semi-finals in 2005. I think I remember (the specialists will not fail to correct me) that there were up to 4 French clubs involved. Then little by little less and less, until this practice disappears. This would be the perfect opportunity for these Elite players to go and calibrate themselves against English clubs and thus see more clearly as to their individual and collective level.

Matches broadcast on social networks that delight foreign fans, a club in SL and one in the Championship, quality players who must continue to be better prepared, 4 NRL games on television every week... As our sport often approaches an important turn, let's hope to turn the wheel on the right side.

Julien Castagnet


Edited by Gomersall
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I like the idea of the Elite XIII Select and feel they have a lot of potential with time and care. There were a lot of positives from the recent Catalans game I thought. 

I’d rename them ‘The Chanticleers’ and give them four annual fixtures:

vs Catalans (pre-season)

vs Toulouse (pre-season)

Pick 21 players based on the first half of the Elite season, as we’ve just seen.

vs The ERL XIII (the best players from amateur competitions across Serbia, Greece, Netherlands etc etc) this would be a great opportunity to put these developing nations’ players in the shop window and to test their mettle.

vs England Lionhearts or something similar (an amateur English touring side) 

Pick a new 21 man squad based on form from the second half of the season. 

Edited by welshmagpie
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For the Elite XIII squad to improve, they definitely need more matches against 'better' teams, otherwise they'll always be up against it.

Catalans may not have any matches for a few months, but the squad has been doing pre-season fitness for a while and the majority of their squad has been playing together for a while.

Outside of Catalans and Toulouse, there is no reason the team couldn't organise matches against English Super League & Championship teams.  Whilst COVID makes it hard at the moment, a number of the English teams head to France and Spain for pre-season training and even on the flip side, it's not hard for a French team to get to the likes of London.

PACIFIQUE TREIZE: Join the team by registering as a fan today at pacifique13.com

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