England’s autumn international against France in Perpignan has been confirmed by the Rugby Football League.
Officials were keen to find fixtures for the national teams following the postponement of the 2021 World Cup and have arranged outings for England’s men, women and wheelchair teams against the French.
In addition, the England Knights will have a match against Jamaica, who will also play Scotland as they prepare for their World Cup debut.
Perpignan’s Stade Gilbert Brutus will be the venue for the France Test on Saturday, October 23, and coach Shaun Wane expects the hosts to be competitive following the domestic success in 2021 of Catalans Dragons and Toulouse, who both won the League Leaders’ Shield in their respective divisions.
Wane said: “A Test match in France is a good option for us this autumn as we re-focus on the World Cup in 2022.
“French Rugby League is on the up through Catalans Dragons and Toulouse Olympique, and I know from experience that the French fans will passionately support their team at the Stade Gilbert Brutus.
“Come October, I’ll pick the strongest possible team and make sure we’re well prepared for a tough challenge.
“The France game will come with less than a year until our World Cup opener against Samoa in Newcastle and that makes it an important part of our planning.”
The match will be the first for former Catalans boss Laurent Frayssinous since his appointment as France coach.
“We are excited about playing a strong nation like England with a lot of good players,” he said.
“This game is the first step of our programme and plan to lead us to the RLWC 2022.
“We have not played for two years in France so this is an excellent opportunity for all fans and players to come back to Brutus – which is known as a hostile land for all English teams.”
The match will be part of a double header, with England’s women playing the French at 2pm local time.
England’s wheelchair team will host France, who are the reigning world champions, in a two-Test series at Medway Park, Gillingham on November 10 and 13, and Paul Anderson’s Knights will play their first match for two years against Jamaica.
Anderson said: “After the frustrations of the last two seasons, it’s important and exciting to have another Knights fixture to look forward to.
“Our last game against Jamaica was a really enjoyable occasion and a very worthwhile contest and we’re looking forward to a repeat of that which will provide valuable international experience for a group of young players who have already been identified as potential contenders for the 2025 World Cup.”
That game, at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle on Friday, October 15, will form part of the testimonial year for Castleford and Jamaica player Jordan Turner while the Reggae Warriors will also play Scotland on October 29.
Jamaica coach Jermaine Coleman said: “We’re super excited to have the opportunity to play two games and spend some time together as a group.
“The England Knights game will be special to celebrate the achievements of Jordan Turner and his career so far.
“The Scotland Test is a fantastic opportunity for us to measure our progression against a seasoned international team. That will be a great challenge that we are all looking forward to.”
In addition Wales and Ireland will play a women’s international on Sunday, October 17 at Colwyn Bay.