A host of Super League players will line up on each side when Wales take on France this Friday in the Rugby League European Championship at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park (kick-off 6.30pm).
Wales could field up to six Super League players while France have 11 including five from top French club Catalans Dragons.
This Friday’s match celebrates 80 years of the Championship – Wales faced France in the inaugural game of the first competition in Bordeaux on January 1st 1935, and is the 151st game in the competition’s history.
Both sides come into this game having won their first match of the tournament, Wales beat Scotland 18-12 in Wrexham in this year’s opening game on October 16 and France defeated Ireland 31-14 the next day.
Whoever wins this match will be in pole position to take the title in the concluding rounds next week when Wales travel to Ireland and France host a Scottish side who are unable to win the title after losing their second round game to Ireland 24-22 last week.
There could be two potential Wales debutants, one being Coventry Bears’ James Geurtjens who just missed out on selection against Scotland, and the other being Port Talbot born 18-year old Regan Grace who has been starring for St Helens under 19s for the past 18 months.
Grace came through the junior system at South Wales Scorpions and has played for Wales at under 16 and 18 levels. He was also in the Ospreys under 16 Academy before switching to the 13-man code.
The winger played for Wales this Sunday in a non-capped Danny Jones benefit match against Keighley Cougars, where he came on in the second half and made a big impression on Wales coach John Kear.
Kear said: “We took part in the match for Danny’s family to help raise money for them but we were pleased to have the run out and look over players.
“There were a number of good individual performances but I was very impressed with Regan Grace. St Helens have got yet another good kid coming through the system that they’ve scouted in Wales and been developed by the club. He looked very excited indeed and is a magnificent prospect.
“I was really pleased with what I saw against Keighley on Sunday and this helped me with selection for Friday. I thought Rob Massam on the other wing looked very solid too when he came on so there was strong competition for places.
“I had more questions answered with last Sunday’s match than those posed and I think it’s helped us pick a strong squad for Friday. It’ll need to be strong as we know the tough challenge that France will pose.”
France come into this game on the back of a heavy 84-4 defeat in a friendly against England last Saturday.
“Last weekend’s game was a very difficult day for us,” said France coach Richard Agar. “Friday gives us the perfect opportunity to put it behind us. “We have some welcome returns to the team giving us an injection of experience and quality.
“Wales had a great start and certainly look a lot stronger in the pack, with the back three doing a great job for them.”
Agar has his skipper Theo Fages fit again and Catalans Dragons pair Tony Gigot and Jason Baitieri are in the squad as the French look to emulate their 42-22 triumph over Wales in last season’s Euros.
Tickets for Wales v France at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park (kick-off 6.30pm) on Friday can be bought by going to http://www.walesrugbyleague.co.uk/match_day/tickets. Payment on the gate is still available on the night this Friday and fans can still enjoy the amazing entry prices. Seat ticket are unreserved so you could still sit with people who have pre-booked. Ticket prices are £12 adults, £10 concessions and £5 for children.
Michael Channing (Castleford Tigers), Morgan Evans, James Geurtjens (Coventry Bears) Dalton Grant (Dewsbury Rams), Courtney Davies, Steve Parry, Lewis Reece (Gloucestershire All Golds), Craig Kopzcak (Huddersfield Giants), Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams (London Broncos), Ricky Hough (Newcastle Thunder), Joe Burke, Christiaan Roets (North Wales Crusaders), Connor Farrer (South Wales Scorpions), Ollie Olds (Souths Logan Magpies, Australia), Regan Grace (St Helens), Anthony Walker (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats), Phil Joseph (Widnes Vikings), Rhodri Lloyd (Wigan Warriors)
Jean Philippe Baille (Bradford Bulls), Gadwin Springer (Castleford Tigers), Jason Baitieri, Julian Bousquet, Morgan Escare, Antoni Maria, Tony Gigot (Catalans Dragons), John Boudebza, Kevin Larroyer (Hull KR), William Barthau (London Broncos), Remy Marginet, Ugo Perez, Stanislas Robin, Jordan Sigismeau (St. Esteve XIII Catalan/ Dragons Catalans), Théo Fages (St Helens), Olivier Arnaud (SO Avignon XIII) Clément Boyer (Toulouse Olympique XIII), Mickael Simon (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats), Benjamin Jullien (Warrington Wolves)