France coach issues England warning

France coach Bobbie Goulding has warned the incoming England coach that he faces a massive test in June when the two nations meet at Leigh Sports Village.
 
After nearly beating England in last year’s Gillette Four Nations and putting in creditable performances against Australia and New Zealand, Goulding is expecting his resurgent French side to cause England some major headaches in a game that he will be using as a platform to build for this autumn’s European Cup.
 
Last October, France lead England 12-4 at half-time at the Keepmoat Stadium and Goulding believes the game was there for the taking.
Bobbie Goulding said: “We had England on the rack in Doncaster and had we not lost two players to injury and then seen Ryan Hall intercept a certain try for us to go the length of the field then I think we might have won.
 
“We restored a lot of credibility in the national side last year and the game in Leigh is all about building on that.  It’s a really big game for France and I’m sure we’ll be up for it.”
 
Despite concerns about injuries to a number of Catalans Dragons players, Goulding is confident that his team will be up for a big game on 12 June and is fully expecting a number of the England players to turn in big performances in front of their new coach.
 
Goulding said: “The game in Leigh is not just about the England players trying to impress their new coach it’s about them trying to book their places on the flights to New Zealand and Australia for the Four Nations.
 
“The likes of Kyle Eastmond and Sam Tomkins really made names for themselves last year with their performances for England and they’ll be keen to do the same later this year in the Southern Hemisphere.  However, to do that they’ll have to play well against us and we certainly won’t be making it easy for them.”
 
According to Goulding 2010 is massive year for French Rugby League with a place in next year’s Four Nations up for grabs to the winners of this autumn’s European Cup.
 
“When I took over as France coach last year I had three missions,” said Goulding.  “First was to get the players to have pride in playing for the country, second was to win the European Cup and the third was to move up the world rankings.
 
“Last year we achieved mission one. The lads now want to play for France again and this season it’s all about building on those performances and winning the European Cup.  It’s a competition we start as favourites but we absolutely have to win it and that is why we need to play well against England to ensure our confidence levels remain high.”
 
To give France the best possible chance of doing well this year Goulding is holding monthly training sessions with a 35 man squad.  The group is made up of Catalans Dragons and Toulouse players who are a quarter of the way through their season and domestic players who are coming to end of their competition.
 
“The session aren’t strenuous, they’re just a case of keeping everyone together as a group and maintaining the spirits we developed last year,” said Goulding
 
“They’re all about setting ourselves goals as a group on what we want to achieve in 2010 and that’s to do well against England and win the European Cup.  Once we’ve done that we can look to next year when we’d love to claim the scalp of big side.”

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