France

Brief HistoryThe game of Rugby has existed in France since the early 1870s. When the French RU were found to be breaching amateur regulations in the 1930s, many players turned to Rugby League. However, defeat in the Second World War led to a regime to re-establish the dominance of Rugby Union, and all forms of Rugby League were banned.

Despite the ban being eventually lifted, the consequences still exist today, and the French RU hold a relentless campaign against Rugby League, which peaked when they booked a stadium purely so that the date of a rugby league test had to be changed.

The following quote sums up the potential Rugby League had before it's harsh ban "By the outbreak of war there were 225 league clubs in France – all set up in just five years. Rugby league was a professional game – players signed annual contracts with their clubs and had control over their careers. It was seen as a modern, innovative sport – and was closely associated with the left-wing Popular Front government that came to power in France in 1936.". Full Article: http://rl1908.com/Rugby-League-News/vichy.htmRecent Matches & ProgressInternational Game RecordsIn 2005, France were beaten by Australia 44-12 in Perpignan. The previous year, they suffered a narrow and creditable 24-20 loss against New Zealand.1968 World Cup – Runner Up
1978 – France 13-10 Australia, France 11-10 Australia
1990 – France 25-18 Great Britain
2004 – France 20-24 New Zealand
2005 – France 12-44 AustraliaFuture DevelopmentIt is hoped that Les Catalans will be a success in Superleague, and that more French teams will follow the Dragons in to the only professional league in Europe. There are also plans afoot to expand the current Tri-Nations competition (staged annually between Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand) to consist of four teams, which would include France.Club TeamsContact InformationThe French now have a club in the European Superleague, Les Catalans, who follow in the footsteps of Paris St Germain, who were in Superleague for a couple of seasons from 1996 onwards. Catalans are safe from relegation for 3 years, and the aim is to encourage the growth of Rugby Leage in France.

Four French teams regularly compete in the Challenge Cup, the oldest Rugby League competition in the world – UTC, Pia, Toulouse and Villeneuve.

The French rugby league championship, the Elite Championship, consists of 12 teams – Carcassone, Carpentras, UTC, Lezignan Sangliers, Limoux Grizzlies, Lyon, Marseille, Pia, St Gaudens, Toulouse, Villeneuve, Villefranche. http://www.ffr13.com

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