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Best crop of French youngsters I've seen


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This currently has to be the best crop of youngsters in France coming through in SL, Championship and the French competition for a long time. This looks very exciting for France Rugby League. Even Trent Robinson has said that France has a good number of players coming through.

My prediction is that you won't see most of these players featuring for France in this World Cup but in the 2025 World Cup that France could be hosting

See my list below for the players I've seen playing this year that are aged 23 and under, apologies to anyone I missed:

Arthur Morgue - (half back)  Genuine freak of nature, we've seen how dangerous he is running the ball, what we'll start to see when he plays more at half back is his flair and technical ability 

Cesar Rouge (half back) -  Another freak, an athletic, quick and powerful player which is rare for a french half back. if it wasn't for the pandemic he'd be signed to the Melbourne Storm. In only his first season playing in the local French league he's made it to the French World Cup train on squad.

Paul Seguier (prop, back row) - He's mostly been playing prop this season but I think his best position is in the back row, skillful player

Lambert Belmas (prop) - Only a matter of time before he gets a run in the Catalan first team, a rangy decent sized prop which the french have been short of for some time

Hugo Salabio (prop) - I like the way this kid plays, bags of ability. He plays like an enforcer and France have lacked this type of player at prop

Mathieu Cozza (prop) - Already in the Catalan first team squad and now in the France World Cup train on squad. A big chunky prop and difficult to stop 

Jayson Goffin (second row) - Big strong running back rower, rugged and raw he has a lot of development in him but you can already see his potential 

Romain Franco (wing) - Quick, athletic, strong and looks built for the modern game mainly plays on the wing but he's played some games at full back also. I can see him getting promoted to the Catalan first team squad

Jordan Flovie (wing) - Very quick, good all round game. Played a few games at Toulouse recently and I was impressed

Alrix Da Costa (hooker) - Seems like he's been around for ages, already experienced for his age and playing regularly in the SL

Florien Valihen (prop) - Decent sized prop and very quick for a prop his size and a good offload 

Joe Chan (second row) - Already in the Dragons first team squad and made his debut a couple of weeks ago, he has scary pace for a forward

Tiaki Chan (second row) - Every bit as talented as his older brother, highly rated at the Dragons

Corentin Le Cam (second row) - Freakishly tall, I think he's around 6'7 foot, he's been scoring tries for fun in the French local comp. Just a matter of time before he gets a run in the Dragons first team

Mathieu Laguerre (Centre) - Already making an impact in the SL, tall, rangy, quick and skillful. He's got some upper body strength too. Could be in France's first team in the World Cup

Justin Sangare (prop) - Been developing gradually at Toulouse, playing in the Championship. He's playing more and more minutes in the first team. He can be a tough man to put down when he gets going

Lucas Albert (half back) - Already played many SL games but still only 22 so it seems like he's been around for ages, I thought he was one of if not the best players in the French comp

Mathieu Jussaume (centre) - Been impressed with this guy recently in the Championship, he looks lightning quick and has an ability to break out of tackles. He could line up in the French team alongside LaGuerre in the World Cup

Benjamin LaGuerre (full back, wing) Actually Benjamin has played a number of positions but his best position is probably full back, tall, rangy and quick 

Etienne Depeyre (wing) Having a good season in the French league, he's scored some good tries. HE looks to have blistering speed

Hugo Pezet (centre, wing) Highly rated at Toulouse and came through their centre of excellence, just a matter of time before he gets game time in the full time Toulouse team

Maxime Jobe (centre) - Very impressed with this kid, got all the ingredients to be a top draw centre. France rugby league are very lucky to have him and I wouldn't be surprised if union clubs tried to poach him

Louis Carre (centre) - Typical modern day centre, athletic and well rounded

Corentin Rey (full back, wing) - Big, quick, still very young, had a good season. I'd love to see him sign up with the Dragons or Toulouse

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Maybe not classed as a “youngster” but Jordan Dezaira is definitely a raw talent who just needs and deserves gametime in the dragons 1st team. Big and physical rangy backrower.

Romain Franco’s best position is fullback. Don’t think he’s physically big and strong enough for a super league winger.

Robin brochon dangerous fullback with attacking flair at elite1 level. Kicks goals as well.

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Posted (edited)

Has this something to do with these players being able to watch top level rl on tv and live at Brutus stadium from a young age? . Having access to the coaching methods that filter through from the catalans? (on my elite coaching course the catalans assistants game in for a couple of hours to help and give talks on defensive systems and attack etc) or the dream to play top level rl and be well paid to do so? 

There are now three pole espoir centres (coaching and school studies from the age of 15 to 18) plus the catalans version so even more kids have the chance to train more and get better coaching. 

France has a small player pool but seem to be able to produce very good players up to u18s level. Now it seems that with the catalans and toulouse these players can now push on after u18/19s 

Edited by barnyia
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Posted (edited)

I think you have hit the nail on the head Barnyia, I have always been amazed how many good players are produced in France out of such a small player pool.

 

Paul

Edited by ATLANTISMAN
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1 hour ago, barnyia said:

Has this something to do with these players being able to watch top level rl on tv and live at Brutus stadium from a young age? . Having access to the coaching methods that filter through from the catalans? (on my elite coaching course the catalans assistants game in for a couple of hours to help and give talks on defensive systems and attack etc) or the dream to play top level rl and be well paid to do so? 

There are now three pole espoir centres (coaching and school studies from the age of 15 to 18) plus the catalans version so even more kids have the chance to train more and get better coaching. 

France has a small player pool but seem to be able to produce very good players up to u18s level. Now it seems that with the catalans and toulouse these players can now push on after u18/19s 

Where are these 3 centres located?

Do you know about any coaching clinics that target kids in cities like Lyon? Montpelier?  Marseille and nice etc?

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My 2 cents but Belmas and Cozza are undersized. They are fine in the Elite 1 but in SL? 

Romain Franco is okay, not sure if he's got SL potential though. Flovie is a good Elite player, might get the job done in championship but not at the top level I'm afraid, he's Escare without the passing game.

Maxime Jobe we poached him from an Union 4th division junior club. He's only in his first couple years of league.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Cumbrian Mackem said:

Where are these 3 centres located?

Do you know about any coaching clinics that target kids in cities like Lyon? Montpelier?  Marseille and nice etc?

Carcassonne, Toulouse,salon de Provence. I know kids from Lyon go to salon as do most of the kids from the paca region. My son tried out for Carcassonne for the up coming school year and there was a couple of kids from Montpellier, and quite a few from  Albi, lescure, limoux, Lézignan and of course Carcassonne. Toulouse creps seems to be a higher level and is more expensive for the parents and clubs. They do four years instead of three. The Catalans one is new this year. The three others offer accommodation within the colleges but I don't think the Catalans one does. They study for their bac qualifications with four or five on field sessions plus weights and wrestling per week. They are open to players from all over France. 

The federation seem to leave coaching and finding players  etc up to the local clubs. But do offer coaching courses and coaching qualifications in most areas where there are clubs. 

Edited by barnyia
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French always seem to produce good quality juniors, who then fail to progress to similar standards to the English and Aussie/NZ equivalents.

Would genuinely love to see a french test team that can compete with the top nations.

how many of these new era players do those in the know think have the desire and determination to make it at the top level?

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Thanks for that list.

It makes it even more urgent that we get Toulouse into Super League next year, so that these talented young players can see two possible pathways to professional rugby league status, and not be lured to rugby union. Many of the best can then have places in the professional squads.

If it all pans out, and there are enough of them in the coming 2-3 years, then the French Federation should be thinking of encouraging the formation of a third Super League aspiring French club, preferably based in a big city.

In addition, having Trent Robinson involved with the French national team in October-November is very exciting for the French young talent because if Trent is impressed with any of them, seeing them up close, he could possibly recruit one or two of them for the Roosters.

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6 hours ago, Hela Wigmen said:

Interestingly, plenty of French enthusiasts were slating Catalans and McNamara before a game was played this year. 

I would be at the front of the queue - if he had picked 17 French youth players, we would not have seen that debacle (or whatever they call it over there) yesterday. 

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1 hour ago, EastLondonMike said:

French always seem to produce good quality juniors, who then fail to progress to similar standards to the English and Aussie/NZ equivalents.

Would genuinely love to see a french test team that can compete with the top nations.

how many of these new era players do those in the know think have the desire and determination to make it at the top level?

Mostly all  of them at the Catalans reserves as they train in the morning and then do their studies and train late afternoon. They're full time training but with studies or part time jobs as well. Plus quite a few of  them have moved away from their home towns and families to play in Perpignan.

 

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8 hours ago, barnyia said:

Has this something to do with these players being able to watch top level rl on tv and live at Brutus stadium from a young age? . Having access to the coaching methods that filter through from the catalans? (on my elite coaching course the catalans assistants game in for a couple of hours to help and give talks on defensive systems and attack etc) or the dream to play top level rl and be well paid to do so? 

There are now three pole espoir centres (coaching and school studies from the age of 15 to 18) plus the catalans version so even more kids have the chance to train more and get better coaching. 

France has a small player pool but seem to be able to produce very good players up to u18s level. Now it seems that with the catalans and toulouse these players can now push on after u18/19s 

Good post.

How do we keep them in the game?

A select few will be taken on by Catalans and TO XIII as professionals. 

However what about the rest? How do we keep them from leaving for opportunities in 'rival sports'?

Financially, they can earn more playing 'other sports' at Fédérale level than they will playing for their village team in the Elite. @The Daddy's description of a few of these guys tells me they are the sort of athletes that would transition easily into other codes should they be enticed to do so.

What can the FFR XIII do to ensure they stay in the sport?

 

 

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Having read the most recent Mike Rylance book about French RL (The struggle and the daring) not too long ago, I long for the day when future France teams can replicate or go close to the feats achieved by those famous teams of the 1950's. It would be huge for the game.

With what sounds like a really decent crop of young french players, covering many positions, coming through, and the involvement of Trent Robinson, maybe that day isn't too far away. We can but hope.

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I defined young as 23 and under but I need to give shout outs to some very good players who are only just above that age but have bright futures.

Jordan Dezaria (prop, loose forward) - An uncompromising forward, rugged and not easy to put down, he's got good go forward. Only just started getting into the Catalan match day squad

Vincent Albert (centre) - Very big for a centre, he's a unit this guy. I've been impressed with his performances in the French league. A lot of potential but I feel he needs to be in a full time environment to get to the next level. I'd love to see Vincent give SL a go

Sophien Bitigri (full back) - Looked in good form for Carcassonne this year. Big and quick and capable of much more, but like Albert he needs to be in a full time environment to flourish 

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36 minutes ago, clogdance said:

And when these 'incredible French youngsters' become adults, England will put 50+ points past them yet again !

Some want England to play France annually, but at the moment England would probably put 50 on France and after 1 or 2 years we put it to bed because as a sport we are embarrassed at the lop sided nature rather than sticking with it and in 5-10 years France may close the gap.

Or some people say let’s not play France as it is too one-sided.  So how do France become competitive if they are not tested.

So here is my suggestion why can’t we have the England Knights v France as a stand alone fixture in France.

This will enable fringe England players the opportunity to experience international exposure, give Wane the opportunity to see how players react to the international environment and for France to initially be a little bit more competitive.

I do not see England Knights playing France as demeaning to France.  I see it more as the Australian Prime Minister XIII that has played the PNG Prime Ministers XIII annually since 2005 and that has led to vast improvements to PNG.

So I will sit in the corner with my  tin hat on waiting for criticism.

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