In addition to the familiar names from the Catalans Dragons and Toulouse Olympique, Goulding has dipped into the French domestic competition for half of his squad and has also plucked a couple of debutants from the NRL.
“If everyone in this squad is right to play, then we can compete with anyone in the world,” said Goulding. “The likes of Olivier Elima, David Ferriol and Remi Casty are good enough to get in any team and I’m very happy with this 39-man squad.”
Despite half of the squad playing for Catalans and Toulouse in the British competitions and the bulk of the balance from the French domestic championship, Goulding does not see any problems in marrying the two together. “The guys who are playing in the Engage Super League and the Co-operative Championship will be on a roll while the domestic players will have been in pre-season training and be really up for it.”
The new faces in the squad include Quentin Nauroy a young winger from UTC. “He’s very, very fast,” says Goulding. “He’s played four times for the under 20s and impressed.” Eloi Pellissier is a team mate of Nauroy’s at UTC and Goulding is predicting a very bright future for the young hooker. “If an English club got hold of him for six-months he would be outstanding,” he said. “He’s got great speed off the mark, is tough and is definitely one for the future.”
Jason Baitieri will be flying in from Australia to join the squad. Currently with the Sydney Roosters he will be is joining Catalans next year. Goulding says of him, “He’s a tough-as-teak loose forward who’s played two full games for the Roosters this year. Jason’s a workaholic who does all the dirty work. He’s already shown great leadership qualities as well having captained the Newtown Jets, the Roosters’ feeder club this year.” Baitieri has impeccable French credentials having been born in Paris and his father Tas was the first coach of Paris St Germain.
Dane Chisholm is a stand-off/utility player with Melbourne Storm who has been playing alongside the new England full-back Gareth Widdop. He’s got great footwork and ball skills according to Goulding and qualifies through a French mother and grandparents who still live in France.
Goulding will be taking his squad away to camp near Biarritz for a week towards the end of September but can’t wait for the tournament to begin. “This competition is really important to us,” he said, “France really need to be playing in the Four Nations next year against England, Australia and New Zealand.”
FRANCE TRAIN-ON SQUAD
Romaric Bemba, Roman Gagliazzo, Teddy Saddiou (Carcassonne); Jean Philippe Baille, Thomas Bosc, Remi Casty, Olivier Elima (c), Jamil Fakir, David Ferrioll, Cyril Gossard, Clint Greenshield, Gregory Mounis, Sebastian Raguin (Catalan Dragons); Matthew Alberola, Thibault Ancely, Andrew Bentley, Julian Bousquet, Nicolas Munoz, Florian Quintilla, Micheal Tribillac (Lezignan); Dane Chisholm (Melbourne Storm); Maxime Greseque, Christophe Moly (Pia); Jason Baitieri (Sydney Rooster); Vincent Duport, Matthew Griffi, Kevin Larroyer, Antony Maria, Yoan Tisserye (Toulouse); William Barthau, Kane Bentley, Tony Gigot, Sebastien Martins, Quentin Nauroy, Eloi Pellissier, Michael Simon, Cyril Stacul, Julian Touxagas, Fred Vaccari (UTC)