The show must go on: France prepares for season finale

James Gordon

By Chaps the idol - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The French domestic season comes to an end this weekend under the cloud of the disappointing cancellation of the 2025 World Cup.

What was meant to be a renaissance for the sport in rugby league is turning in to its latest nightmare, despite all the hard work that’s gone on to raise the profile of the Elite Championships in recent years.

Reigning champions Carcassonne are on course to complete a league and cup double, and they will face Limoux in the Elite One Championship Final on Sunday May 28 in Narbonne.

They were the top two sides in the regular season and progressed to the final with wins last weekend.

Carcassonne defeated Albi 26-16 in a repeat of the Lord Derby Cup final they won recently, while Limoux eased past Lezignan 36-10.

Former Australia international James Maloney played his final game of rugby league for Lezignan as they were defeated, despite only trailing 18-10 at half time. Two tries from Zachary Santo helped Limoux to victory.

Limoux coach Maxime Greseque told TreizeMondial: “We had to win this playoff game to validate our great season and give pride to the whole city of Limoux which through its presidents, leaders, partners, volunteers are making great efforts to have a competitive team.

“Congratulations to all the players for responding to the field and offering the public a great performance. I feel a lot of joy and pride after this great victory. We had the match we needed against a great team from Lézignan who didn’t let go throughout this meeting.

“Now we have qualified for the final. We will first recover, treat the sores then we will take stock with all the players and prepare for this meeting with a lot of humility and respect to try to thwart the predictions against a very good team from Carcassonne.”

The game will be live streamed on viaOccitanie at 5pm (UK) on Sunday May 28.

Over the weekend, another French finals day took place as the Elite Two Championship final took place between Ille and Villefranche in Pamiers, as well as re-arranged Under 19s Luc Nitard Cup final between Toulouse and Carcassonne.

Ille won 25-18 to secure the second tier title, and it will remain to be seen whether they make the step up to Elite One. Palau Broncos will return to Elite Two after they defeated Ferrals 23-20 in the National Division final.

Toulouse’s young side beat Carcassonne 24-14 in a final that was delayed in controversial circumstances a few weeks ago, when the semi-final was forced to be replayed.

Age group and development finals were also held over the weekend at grounds in Pia and Toulouse, as French rugby league sought highlight its positives at the end of a difficult week.

Further finals in the junior, women and wheelchair games will also be held this weekend in Narbonne.

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