France wants to show growing strength in the league – .

France wants to show growing strength in the league – .

Laurent Frayssinous is confident his team can demonstrate the growing strength of rugby union in France as he prepares to take charge of his first match as national coach.

The French have conceded 204 points in their last four meetings with England but Frayssinous, who replaced Aurélien Cologni as head coach in February, can feel the winds of change after successful seasons for his former club Dragons Catalans and the newcomers of the Toulouse Super League.

France will always be underdogs in Saturday’s clash with Shaun Wane’s England team in Perpignan but Frayssinous is preparing for a first victory against a team from England or Great Britain since 1990, when they triumphed 25- 18 at Headingley.

“We are all competitive,” he said. “We are preparing to win the game because we want to win the game.

“After that, it’s also about building for the World Cup in 2022.

“It’s also been a long time since we’ve played in England so we want to show England that we can provide strong opposition and make sure that in the future we can play one game every year or all. every two years. “

Frayssinous appointed a fourth-choice captain in Tony Gigot and was forced to make a late change with Salford winger Morgan Escare recruited to replace Ilias Bergal, who suffered a hamstring injury in training.

“We miss some experienced players like Ben Garcia, Theo Fages and Julian Bousquet but it’s about preparing for the World Cup and it will give opportunities to some young French players who started the Super League this year and performed “, did he declare.

“It’s pretty exciting to be honest. Ideally you want to have your best team but the same goes for Shaun Wane, it’s a long tough season in the Super League for the players. “

The French entered the camp on Tuesday in Prades, at the foot of the Pyrenees, and Frayssinous enlisted the help of Leeds assistant coach Sean Long, the former St Helens and Great Britain scrum-half who s’ went to Perpignan last Sunday.

Frayssinous can also draw on the experience of Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson, his Catalans predecessor and French rugby director for the World Cup.

“I am in contact with him once a week,” Frayssinous said. “We share a lot of things together to make sure we prepare as best as possible. “

Most eyes at Stade Gilbert Brutus will be on French half-back duo Gigot and rising Catalan star Arthur Mourge, who impressively replaced Sam Tomkins’ back in 2021.

However, Frayssinous has opted to stay with experienced Mark Kheirallah at the back and believes Mourge’s best position is in the halves.

“We had three options at the back there, but I see Arthur as a running back,” he said. “I want to play it at half-time.

“His running game is pretty good and it’s up to me to make sure we put together a game plan that works for him against England. “


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