Off-contract Wigan Warriors star Bevan French provides update on future following World Club Challenge triumph

Ben Olawumi
Bevan French

Wigan Warriors star Bevan French celebrates his spectacular try (later ruled out) in the World Club Challenge against Penrith Panthers - Alamy

Wigan Warriors star Bevan French insists no decision has been made on his future just yet, off-contract come the end of the current campaign.

French is approaching five years with the Cherry and Whites, joining back in June 2019 having fallen out of favour in the Parramatta Eels squad Down Under midway through the season.

After Saturday’s World Club Challenge triumph against NRL kings Penrith Panthers, the New South Wales native has now won everything that there is to win with the Warriors, and all within a 21-month period.

Lifting the Challenge Cup in May 2022, last year saw Matt Peet’s side crowned Super League champions for the first time since 2018.

Also winning the League Leaders’ Shield in 2023, French’s second with the club, the half-back would scoop the Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel award, named the best player in the competition.

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Off-contract Wigan Warriors star Bevan French provides update on future following World Club Challenge triumph

The 28-year-old last penned a deal with Wigan in September 2022, that two-year extension taking him through to the end of the current campaign.

In a post-match press conference at the DW Stadium on Saturday night, the playmaker admitted that decision had now been vindicated and then some, saying: “I wanted to stay here because I loved the people within the club, and I knew that I could continue to learn.

“There was obviously things I wanted to achieve too. I hadn’t won a Grand Final or anything like that before I signed that deal, and I just wanted to win things.”

Wigan Warriors fan, 'Super Bevan French' sign
A young Wigan Warriors fan holds aloft a ‘Super Bevan French’ sign ahead of the World Club Challenge – Alamy

Given the the genuine potential of a return to the NRL, the noise around one of Super League’s finest talents will only continue to grow this year until the contract situation is put to bed one way or another.

But when questions surrounding his future in the here and now came in Saturday’s press conference, French kept his cards close to his chest.

He said: “I’ve always enjoyed my time here. It’s a winning culture, and I’ve learned a lot here.

“My next step isn’t really something that’s crossed my mind at all, I’m more focused on what tonight brought and what the rest of this season can bring.

“That’s what my manager’s for – he’ll sort all of that out.”

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French details ‘surreal’ feeling of being crowned champions of the world

French and co’s 16-12 win on Saturday night at a sold-out DW Stadium equalled Sydney Roosters‘ club record of five World Club Challenge wins, and pulled the Warriors two clear of Leeds Rhinos & St Helens in terms of British clubs’ World Club record.

Tries from Abbas Miski, Kruise Leeming and Jake Wardle sealed the deal, with Harry Smith also kicking two of his three conversions, those four points proving vital.

It could have been slightly more comfortable towards the end for Peet’s side had French’s stunning try in the second half not been disallowed for offside, his run onto Smith‘s kick over the top from a scrum leaving many in attendance absolutely speechless.

Despite that, having clung on in for the win, French paid tribute to how much the club’s latest piece of silverware meant to everyone involved, referencing the club’s supporters and their connection with the players.

He added: “It’s pretty crazy, surreal to be honest.

“We’ve spoken a lot about the connection that everyone has in the group, but to win against a team like Penrith with their history, calibre of players – State of Origin, country, captains – who have won three Premierships (in a row), it means a lot to us and to everyone in the Wigan community.

“We know the importance of what rugby league means to Wigan. They still speak about World Club Challenges from 30 years ago, so it means a lot to us, definitely.”

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