Laurent Frayssinous confident France will provide tough test for England

France's Theo Fages (left) and England's Sam Tomkins (right)
England turned to France to provide the opposition for Shaun Wane’s team in the autumn following the postponement of the World Cup and Frayssinous is looking forward to taking charge of the team for the first time in Perpignan on October 23.TESTS: Host of northern hemisphere international matches announced this autumn

England have been loathe to play the French in recent years following a spate of one-sided matches and a Combined Nations All Stars was formed to provide the opposition for Shaun Wane’s men in June.

However, the performance of both Steve McNamara’s Catalans Dragons and Toulouse in winning the League Leaders’ Shield in their respective competitions this year suggests the calibre of player available to Frayssinous will be at its highest for many years.

The 44-year-old former Catalans boss, who was appointed in March, says his side for the game at Stade Gilbert Brutus will largely comprise players from the Dragons and Toulouse as he seeks to restore France’s standing in the world.

He said: “We have to put the French team up among the best nations in the world.

“Obviously we are not at the level of Australia and New Zealand or even England but we want to perform against these teams.

“We haven’t got as many players like England and Australia who play at the highest level but we have a lot of desire and each time we wear the French jersey there’s some legacy as well.

“I want us to be competitive. With the performance of the French players at Catalans and Toulouse, I’m pretty optimistic we can perform. I can assure you we will give of our best on the field.

“Most of the players will come from Catalans and Toulouse because of the level they play and also the French comp stopped in early June – you give them a plan to keep them fit but you don’t replace match fitness by just a training session.”

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Frayssinous was the youngest coach in Super League when he succeeded Australian Trent Robinson at the Dragons in 2013 and, after his sacking four years later, he spent time in Australia as well as England learning new aspects of coaching.

He was appointed by newly-formed Canadian team Ottawa ahead of their anticipated entry into League One in 2021 but the coronavirus pandemic put that on hold and, like his England counterpart Wane, he admits the role of a national coach can be a little less than fulfilling.

He said: “The frustrating part is that you’re not working day in day out with the players or attending to game plans and performance.

“There is a lot of administration and lots of talks between the coaches and players. It’s different but I’m enjoying it.”

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After the England Test, Frayssinous wants to line up a mid-season international in the summer and a warm-up game on the eve of the World Cup, which will now start on October 15, 2022, and he believes the 12-month delay could be a positive for the French.

He said: “Steve Mac has introduced a few young players who have performed for the Catalans so hopefully in 12 months’ time they will have had more game time and more experience.

“But there is also a big chance that Toulouse will be in Super League next season so it will be the same for them, they will have 12 months to learn at the highest level, which is great, so there are some positives.”

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Frayssinous, who has a captain in mind, will be assisted in the build-up to the England game by former Great Britain half-back Sean Long, now on his backroom team, while Robinson, the Sydney Roosters coach who was appointed as France’s director of rugby for the World Cup, will be lending a hand remotely.

1 Comment

  1. England by 25 points.Take tomkins,drinkwater,mcilorum,maloney,etc.out of the Catalans side they would be a poor Super League side.I am fed up of listening to all the spin when i know Catalans have 11 foreigners in their side!

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