A squad of some of the best players from the French Elite Championship has been selected to face Catalans Dragons next month.
The French selection, coached by Maxime Greseque, will take on Steve McNamara’s side in a pre-season match on Saturday February 4.
The Dragons open their season against Wakefield on February 17, but have been unable to arrange their usual friendly with Toulouse due to the earlier start to the Championship season.
Greseque said: “This match is a real opportunity to prepare our pool of new players for the French team of tomorrow.
“This will also allow this selection to compete against a high-level team.
“All while preparing for the future, international deadlines with especially the test match against the English and the 2025 World Cup.
“It is great to to be able to bring together the best players in our league and an honour to play Brutus against the Dragons Club!”
Former Warrington and Catalans back-rower Benjamin Jullien, now plying his trade with Pia, is one of the most recognised names in the squad.
The selection includes Limoux hooker Justin Bouscayroul and six players from the Dragons’ reserve side, St Esteve.
The French Elite Championship’s top points scorer, Carcassonne’s Clement Herrero is one of three players selected from the reigning champions.
Vincent Albert and prop Clement Boyer, formerly of Toulouse, join goalkicker Herrero in the squad.
Another prolific domestic points scorer, Pia’s Alan Baby, is included after scoring eight tries and 28 goals in 10 league games so far this season.
Villeneuve full-back Thomas Lasvenes, who played for France at the 9s World Cup in 2019, is joined by team-mate Enzo Deltheil.
There are four representatives from Avignon, while Albi, Lezignan and Toulouse are also represented.
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French Elite selection 27-man squad for Catalans challenge match
Damel Diakate, Maxime Puech (both Albi), Louis Carre, Mouadh Bida, Remi Andreu, Mendy Saloty (all Avignon), Vincent Albert, Clement Boyer, Clement Herrero (all Carcassonne), Romain Franco, Paul Marty, Leo Laurent, Leo Llong, Bastien Scimone, Corentin Rey (all St Esteve), Franck Maria, Evan Albert (both Lezignan), Justin Bouscayrol, Lucas Vergniol (both Limoux), Florian Vailhen, Mathias Marty, Benjamin Jullien, Alan Baby (all Pia), Robin Brochon, Pierre-Jean Lima (both Toulouse), Enzo Deltheil, Thomas Lasvenes (both Villeneuve)