Robinson insists France must take crucial chance to grow

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson believes that French rugby league is at a crucial stage of its development, and the opportunity must not be missed.

Toulouse Olympique are gearing up to re-enter the British league structure, as they prepare for the 2016 campaign in League 1.

Robinson feels that Toulouse’s inclusion is an important step for the game in France, and Europe as a whole.

“I think it’s great,” he told Love Rugby League.

“I believe in Toulouse as a city and as a hub there for rugby league.

“A lot of players come out from the western side of Toulouse, so it is another central point of rugby league.

“I think they’ve got a really strong history there, so I believe in them working their way through.

Sylvain Houles is a very good coach, he played in the Super League and the French competition.

“I’m interested to see how they go, and I hope they push on into the Championship.”

French players such Theo Fages and Kevin Larroyer, as well as the likes of Mickael Simon and Gadwin Springer, have begun to ply their trade at clubs other then Catalans in Super League.

Remi Casty had a short spell in the NRL with the Roosters in 2014 while Benjamin Garcia has recently joined the Penrith Panthers.

Robinson believes that the progression of French players to other Super League clubs shows that the game is at a crucial point in its history in France.

According to him, the French national team must now kick on and find a new level.

“I think we’re sitting on a pretty good point for French rugby league,” he said.

“There’s some players starting to move into other teams and Super League, and teams are identifying some good talent in France.

“The international game is next: France needs to develop into a stronger force when it comes to the international game.

“Then we’ll definitely see a French player play in the NRL in the coming years at some point.

“I think it’s a critical period. We need to make it click in the next couple of years.”

Robinson, who coached Catalans Dragons before moving back to Australia, has a French wife and is an avowed Francophile.

He has not ruled out returning to coach France at some point in the future, but for the moment is content to cast a supporting eye over the French game.

“I’ll go back and live there at some stage,” he said.

“I’ll always be a big supporter of France, but I also support Richard Agar and what he’s trying to do.

“I’ll help out when needed.”

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