France coach Laurent Frayssinous has named a 20-man squad for their international against Wales in Albi on Sunday.
As expected, the squad is dominated by Super League clubs Catalans and Toulouse.
Only two of the 20-man squad do not play for either of those two sides – Salford’s Morgan Escare and Halifax half-back Louis Jouffret.
Dragons captain Ben Garcia is joined by 11 of his club-mates, including winger Fouad Yaha, young half-back Cesar Rouge and exciting full-back Arthur Mourgue.
Toulouse mainstays Paul Marcon and Anthony Marion are joined by highly-rated forward Justin Sangare and Maxime Stefani, who has broken through in to Super League this season.
French Super League clubs thanked for support
Frayssinous was keen to acknowledge his counterparts Sylvain Houles and Steve McNamara at Toulouse and Catalans, in the context of an international week beset by withdrawals from the England game against Combined Nations All Stars.
He said: “During my last discussions with the players, I told them about the big competition that there is today in the France team, that
their club performance and standards would be scrutinized.
“I’m really happy with the quality of the group of 20 players who will meet on Wednesday in Albi. After speaking with the players and the staff, there is a real excitement to meet for this preparation match for the World Cup and to continue to write the history of the France team.
“This team is made up of many players from the Catalans Dragons and Toulouse Olympique. The quality of the relationship we have with the two French Super clubs League allows French rugby league to move in the right direction.
“I thank Sylvain and Steve and their leaders for this cordial and professional agreement. The objective of this test game against Wales is to rectify what went wrong against England in last October and continue to work on the combinations that will serve as the basis for the next World Cup. We have high expectations in terms of performance on this
Notable absentees include Lance Todd Trophy winner Tony Gigot and Featherstone full-back Mark Kheirallah, who has been frozen out since his controversial exit from Toulouse which brings his eligibility in to question.
France were beaten 30-10 by England in their last test match back in October.
They last faced Wales back in October 2018 in Carcassonne, winning 54-18.
Frayssinous’ side are in England’s group at the World Cup, alongside Greece and Samoa.
It is thought that was the main reason why a Combined Nations All Stars side was put up against England during this international window, rather than France.
France squad v Wales
Julian Bousquet, Alrix Da Costa, Jordan Dezaria (all Catalans), Morgan Escare (Salford), Ben Garcia, Mickael Goudemand, Benjamin Jullien, Matthieu Laguerre (all Catalans), Paul Marcon, Anthony Marion (both Toulouse), Arthur Mourgue (Catalans), Romain Navarrete, Eloi Pelissier (both Toulouse), Arthur Romano, Cesar Rouge (both Catalans), Justin Sangare (Toulouse), Paul Seguier (Catalans), Maxime Stefani (Toulouse), Louis Jouffret (Halifax), Foud Yaha (Catalans).