The Garry Schofield Column: What’s the value in England playing France?

IN news which surprised no one, it’s finally been confirmed that England will face France in a mid-season international – at Toulouse on Saturday, June 29.

I can’t see any value in it for England, nor for France, because it’s going to be a one-sided contest, even if Shaun Wane fields a below-strength side, as he did last season, when it finished 64-0.

Caps are being given away cheaply when they should be prized.

It’s doing no good for England, because with the opportunities for playing internationals so scarce, every one needs to be maximised.

And it will do no good for France to get yet another flogging.

It even clashes with a Toulouse match (against Featherstone), so who gets first call on French players?  

And, from a commercial point of view, how do you sell such a non-event to sponsors and supporters?

Oh and we still haven’t heard anything further about the supposed end-of-season Samoa series.

It may be April, but an Advent calendar would be of more use than the international calendar.

Semi-finals to savour

UNLIKE England and France, the Challenge Cup semi-finals have huge appeal.

The draw has provided two belting ties to look forward to, and both are hard to call.

Wigan will be driven by the desire for revenge against Hull KR, who beat them at the same stage last year – remember Brad Schneider and his golden point drop-goal?

But Wille Peters’ side have shown they can beat anyone when they hit form.

While I predicted quarter-final wins for Wigan against Castleford (not that difficult to call) and Rovers over Leigh, I was wrong about Catalans beating Huddersfield and Saints seeing off Warrington.

The Giants did a real job on Catalans, and credit to Ian Watson for that, while the Wolves hunted down Saints in impressive style.

Can Sam Burgess claim silverware in his first year at the helm?

First published in League Express newspaper, Issue 3,427 (April 22, 2024)

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