Le Crunch between England and France set to become annual fixture

THE ENGLAND men’s and women’s teams will face France in a mid-season international in 2023, in what IMG hope will become an annual event.

The sports agency declared their intention to make matches between the two nations a fixture of the international calendar when they presented their recommendations for the reimagining of the sport in September.

England and France have been in discussions in recent months to confirm annual games, and have both committed to fixtures in 2023 as part of a double header at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Tickets are on sale now for the games on Saturday, April 29, with the women to play at 2pm, followed by the men at 4.30pm.

It will be the first fixture for each team since losing in their respective World Cup semi-finals.

England’s men have played a Combined Nations All Stars team in each of the last two mid-season international windows, also at Warrington, while the women played France in 2022 as part of a double header.

Discussions are continuing over next year’s fixtures for the England Wheelchair team, whose main rivalry is with the French who they played in last week’s World Cup final.

“We are delighted to announce this agreement with our English friends for the implementation of these two Test Matches, men and women, in April 2023,” said Luc Lacoste, the president of French Rugby League Federation.

“For several months now, we have been working hand in hand with the RFL to systematise international matches between our two nations every year.

“This first announcement therefore confirms the desire of our two Federations to make a common path until 2025.”

Mark Foster, the RFL’s chief commercial officer, added: “This autumn has been another reminder of the importance of our England teams in capturing the imagination of sports fans and TV viewers beyond our regular Rugby League audience.

“We wanted to ensure that our England teams would return to action in front of a home crowd as soon as possible in 2023.”