Joe Bretherton backs France’s bid for Rugby League World Cup 2025

Josh McAllister

Toulouse forward Joe Bretherton has backed France’s bid to host the Rugby League World Cup in 2025.

The Wigan-born 25-year-old joined Toulouse in 2019, and wears number 16 in the 2021 season which has seen the side go unbeaten in the Championship.

The French Rugby League Federation officially launched its bid to host the 2025 World Cup this month, which will be one year after the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

France last hosted the tournament in its entirety back in 1972, having founded the tournament in 1954.

Bretherton said: “I think that would be huge for the sport. Growing the game in France would help to improve the game and what better way to do it than to have the World Cup here and if my history is correct, it would 71 years since the first ever Rugby League World Cup which was hosted by France.

“In my opinion I’d say the french are very patriotic so regardless of the sport I believe the whole country would be behind them.”

Bretherton’s club currently sit at the top of the Betfred Championship, with a record of nine wins and remain only the second professional team to go unbeaten in 2021 alongside league rivals Featherstone Rovers.

And he believes a second french Super League side would only have its benefits for the competition.

He said: “One-Hundred percent having two french sides in Super League would improve the game in so many different ways, not only on the field but also off it.

“For example being in Toulouse when Stade Toulouse play and win in their league, the buzz around the city is crazy and the celebrations too!

“I don’t think people in France are necessarily rugby union fans, I think they’re just fans of rugby. So, to grow the game over here and gain access to these fans would be great for the growth of the game. Especially with the way the tables are at the minute with Catalans at the top of Super League – as well as their history of the first french side to win the Challenge Cup – and us at the top of the Championship, people and media in France are starting to recognise the game a lot more.

“For us as a club, promotion is the main objective and I think we were very unfortunate to not be promoted for this season, which I think is what we use as our motivation when game are so hit and miss this year.”

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