In the lead up to tonight’s Test match with England, France has confirmed their train-on squad for the forthcoming European Championship, which doubles as a qualifier for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England.
Les Chanticleers host Wales and Scotland in Carcassone and face Ireland in Santry.
France head coach Aurélien Cologni said: “Our short-term goal for this European Championship is to finish in the top two to open the doors of the RLWC 2021. It would also allow us to continue the reconstruction of the France team with serenity. The group is very broad, many new players will have the opportunity to show their value on this journey.”
After the competition, Bastien Canet will join Carcassone following three successful seasons in the English Championship with Toulouse, who supply the most players with 12 included. “The national flag is important for me, I feel an immense pride and I intend to translate that into our performances,” he commented.
Limoux’s Valentin Yesa, a twice French Championship winner despite being only 22 commented: “Our group is young but determined, we have forged strong links during our recent trip to Serbia and I am convinced that we will find cohesion from the first match against Wales.”
Hakim Miloudi has gained confidence from the number of matches he has played in Super League for Hull this past season. “I drew a line on my past mistakes, which had deprived me of the World Cup 2017, and nothing makes me happier than this selection for the European Championship,” he noted. “Working relentlessly, I progressed and won the confidence of the coach and I intend to do the same at the service of Les Bleus this time.”
Jason Baitieri, who recently extended his contract with Catalans Dragons for a further two years, has always had the greatest respect for the Tricolor jersey. “I have always been very proud to wear it and I am grateful to Aurélien for once again granting me his confidence,” the Paris-born backrower said. “These are three very important matches for the future of French rugby league.”
FRANCE 35-MAN TRAIN-ON SQUAD : Louis Jouffret (Batley Bulldogs), Bastien Escamilla (Carcassonne XIII), Lucas Albert, Jason Baitieri, Alrix Da Costa, Tony Gigot, Mickael Goudemand, Benjamin Jullien (Dragons Catalans), Hakim Miloudi (Hull FC), Ilies Bergal (Leigh Centurions), Thomas Lasvenes, Alexandre Mickalezyk, Benjamin Vergniol, Valentin Yesa (XIII Limouxin), Mendy Saloty (SO Avignon), Lambert Belmas, Jordan Flovie, Thibault Margalet, Arthur Romano, Paul Seguier (St Esteve XIII Catalan), Theo Fages (St Helens), Bastien Ader, William Barthau, Charles Bouzinac, Bastien Canet, Rhys Curran, Paul Marcon, Gavin Marguerite, Anthony Marion, Tony Maurel, Maxime, Puech, Stanislas Robin, Justin Sangare (Toulouse Olympique XIII), Morgan Escare, Romain Navarette (Wigan Warriors).
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP 2018 FIXTURES
ROUND 1 – Saturday 27 October
Ireland v Scotland – Morton Stadium, Santry (kick off 2pm)
France v Wales – Stade Albert Domec, Carcassone (kick off 6pm)
ROUND 2 – Friday 2 November
Scotland v Wales – Gala RFC, Galashiels (kick off 7.30pm)
Saturday 3 November
Ireland v France – Morton Stadium, Santry (kick off 2pm)
ROUND 3 – Saturday 10 November
France v Scotland – Stade Albert Domec, Carcassone (kick off 6pm)
Sunday 11 November
Wales v Ireland – Racecourse Ground, Wrexham (kick off 3pm)