World Cup Preview: England v France

England and France go head-to-head on Saturday night for a place in the World Cup semi-finals.

Wigan’s DW Stadium is the host venue for the quarter-final, in which England will start as big favourites.

Head coach Steve McNamara has once again reshuffled his matchday squad, with Josh Charnley and James Roby both returning to the fold.

The two players replaced are Tom Briscoe and Carl Ablett, and although Ablett has not made the 19 he is still looking forward to the occasion.

“It will be great,” said Ablett. “The people in Wigan love their rugby league, just like they do in Hull and Huddersfield. They are passionate and it makes it a great stadium to play in.

“Playing there on a Saturday night isn’t something we have been used to, but it will be a great game in a great stadium, and tickets are selling well so there will be a big crowd too.”

There are three changes in Les Chanticleers’ matchday squad, after their bruising 22-6 defeat to Samoa on Monday.

Damien Cardace, Younes Khattabi and Cyril Stacul come in for Catalan trio Benjamin Garcia, Kevin Larroyer and Frederic Vaccari.

Half-back William Barthau, the subject of some of the roughest treatment from the Samoans, is fit and ready to go, and he had this to say:

“All the hard work we have done for each other over the last four weeks has paid off with the way that we have defended until the end.

“We are positive. We worked as hard as we can to get as high as we could in that group and obviously now to get to the quarter-final stage.”

England: George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Sam Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Rob Burrow (Leeds Rhinos), Josh Charnley (Wigan Warriors), Rangi Chase (Castleford Tigers), Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield Giants), Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors), Brett Ferres (Huddersfield Giants), James Graham (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos), Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves), Michael McIllorum (Wigan Warriors), Lee Mossop (Wigan Warriors), Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors), James Roby (St Helens), Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos), Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors), Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos), Ben Westwood (Warrington Wolves).

France: Jean Philippe Baile (Catalans Dragons), William Barthau (Catalans Dragons), Kane Bentley (Toulouse Olympique XIII), Thomas Bosc (Catalans Dragons), Damien Cardace (Catalans Dragons), Remi Casty (Catalans Dragons), Vincent Duport (Catalans Dragons), Olivier Elima (Catalans Dragons), Morgan Escare (Catalans Dragons), Jamal Fakir (Catalans Dragons), Tony Gigot (Sporting Olympique Avignon XIII), Clint Greenshields (North Queensland Cowboys), Younes Khattabi (AS Carcassone XIII), Antoni Maria (Catalans Dragons), Gregory Mounis (Catalans Dragons), Eloi Pelissier (Catalans Dragons), Sebastian Raguin (St Esteve XIII Catalan), Mickael Simon (Catalans Dragons), Cyril Stacul (FC Lezignan XIII).

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