France thrive off home advantage

Olivier Elima is excited about the prospect of France getting through to the Quarter-Finals of Rugby League World Cup 2013 but knows they have a tough test ahead of them as they play in-form at the Gilbert Brutus Stadium, Perpignan, tonight (8.00pm).
The game is a must-win for France if they want to progress in the tournament but it is also the same situation for Samoa and Elima feels that home advantage will spur the French on to victory.
“We have been training really well this week in Perpignan,” said Elima. “It is good for everyone to be back at home. It is going to be fantastic to play such a big game in front of a home crowd. This game is a decider and we have a few more days’ rest than Samoa and the feeling in the camp is just really good.
“The first game against Papua New Guinea we won but we didn’t feel we played too well and then we lost to New Zealand. We feel like we need to go out there and show people what we can do. We need to do the things we have been doing in training and this is such an exciting game, I think it will bring it out in us.
“We have watched both of Samoa’s games and they are a very strong side. They are the kind of players who like to throw the ball about and you cannot rule them out until you have them on the floor tackled. We cannot let them run, they are a big side and we need to be at our best.”
The Catalan Dragons star is enjoying captaining his national team and feels that France have a lot more to give in this tournament.
“People wrote us off from the start of the tournament, we have very much come in as underdogs. We had a bad World Cup tournament in 2008 and we wanted to come into it this year and put that behind us.
“It is great to get fixtures here in France and we have had big turnouts at the games, I am sure it will be the same on Monday.
“The World Cup has been great so far, I have managed to watch quite a few of the games  and it has been good to watch players you don’t normally get to see play and also to watch the teams that have caused upsets and done well like the USA Tomahawks.
“To take part in a World Cup and to captain your national side is an honour and I have really enjoyed the experience so far.”

France head coach Richard Agar has named his 19 man squad to play France at Stade Gilbert Brutus on Monday (20:00)

Jean-Philippe Baile
William Barthau
Kane Bentley
Thomas Bosc
Remi Casty
Vincent Duport
Olivier Elima
Morgan Escare
Jamal Fakir
Benjamin Garcia
Tony Gigot
Clint Greenshields
Kevin Larroyer
Antoni Maria
Gregory Mounis
Eloi Pelissier
Sebastian Raguin
Mickael Simon
Frederic Vaccari

By Kirsty Saynor