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France boss reveals reluctant England would only play on one condition

England will play France tomorrow evening in Toulouse as part of the French Rugby League Federation celebrating their 90th anniversary, but head coach Laurent Frayssinous has revealed the game is only going ahead because France adhered to one condition set by England.

The game at the Stade Ernest-Wallon kicks off at 6 pm local time, 5 pm in England, and will be preceded by England and France Women facing off before Toulouse Olympique play Featherstone Rovers afterwards to round off a day of rugby league.

It’s a welcome game for Shaun Wane’s England side, however, Wane won’t actually be present in France after undergoing an operation earlier this week meaning Andy Last will head up the team.

Despite that, France head coach Laurent Frayssinous has made it clear that Wane and England were only keen to play on one specific condition as he spoke to French publication L’Independant in the build-up to the game.

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“The English didn’t want to play us” – France versus England Rugby League clash played on one key condition

England v France Rugby League

Credit: Imago Images

Laurent Frayssinous, assistant coach at St Helens and head coach of the France Rugby League national team, explained to L’Independant that England only wanted to play the game on the provision that France put out their strongest possible side.

In 2023 when the two teams met at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, it was a 64-0 whitewash for Shaun Wane’s side with Ash Handley scoring a hattrick as England cruised past a young French team.

This time around, France have named a far stronger squad with Catalans Dragons making 13 players available for the game whilst Sydney Roosters have let one of their own talents make the trip to Toulouse.

A confident Frayssinous explained that reassurance of a “quality side” were what ultimately got the game over the line.

He told L’Independant: “We are celebrating 90 years of our Federation and we have not won [against England] since 1981, which is 22 defeats. We want to make history with this French side.

“What is more, the English didn’t want to play us, finally, they needed us to reassure them of the quality of the side that we were going to select to face them.”

Strong France squad leaves Frayssinous confident

Credit: Imago Images

It’s a much-changed squad from the one in 2023 with only seven players retaining a place and more senior and established Super League stars introduced into the fray instead.

Asked about that game back in April 2023, Frayssinous explained: “No. It is a different group of players to the last game. Today, there are only seven players who appeared in that game (Laguerre, Mourgue, Rouge, Chan, Goudemand, Tison and Sangare) with us to prepare for the game in Toulouse. All of our players have 15 months more experience and they have all moved on to other things since, as have the staff.”

He even gave his side a chance of victory, revealing the game plan: “We must show greater patience when the moment arrives to drive home the advantage. If we can stay in the arm wrestle and go nose to nose with them until the hour mark, we will be able to profit from our strengths and their weaknesses to win.”

For information on how to watch the game, click here.

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