French Magic: Three players who caught the eye in Avignon’s win over Palau

Drew Darbyshire

Avignon beat Palau in the opening game of the French Magique Weekend earlier, and we’ve picked out three players who impressed.

Palau 12-23 Avignon

Romain Pourret (Avignon)

The 29-year-old was the first player to catch my eye in Carcassonne. He led from the front against Palau and was constantly ordering his team-mates around the park.

Pourret was at the heart of Avignon’s first try and he was a threat down the left edge for the Bisons.

He is a dominant back-rower who likes to put in a hard hit. He has made almost 200 appearances for Avignon and played for France in last year’s test against Serbia.

Corentin Rey (Avignon)

This kid could be a star – he has got real potential. The full-back is a livewire and he’s an exciting player to watch.

At just 18 years of age, he has the rugby league world at his oyster. He scored a hat-trick against Palau, with Olivier Elima’s Palau side simply not being able to deal with his quick footwork.

His headguard automatically prompted comparisons in the press box to NRL sensation Kalyn Ponga – but he actually plays like him as well! He has natural speed and a lethal step.

Jack Payne (Avignon)

It took a while for playmaker Payne to get into the game – but the 22-year-old was instrumental for Avignon in the second half.

The Australian is one of Avignon’s ex-pat players. Payne played for St George Illawarra Dragons in the New South Wales Cup in 2017 and 2018, and recently represented Mounties.

Payne is a solid half-back who controls the game. A League 1 or Championship club could be worth having a punt at him.