France coach Aurelien Cologni has announced his squad for the upcoming 2017 Rugby League World Cup campaign.
The 24-man squad contains a mix of players from the English Super League and the domestic competition.
In total, there are eight players from the Perpignan-based Catalan Dragons, six from English Super League teams and 10 from the French Premier Division.
Theo Fages, the St Helens halfback, has been named as the team’s captain, with William Barthau from Toulouse Olympic and Benjamin Garcia from the Catalan Dragons as co vice-captains.
The team is a mix of experienced and up-and-coming players, with Jason Baitieri (15 Tests) Julian Bousquet (10), Benjamin Garcia (10) and Eloi Pelissier (14) leading the squad.
The Director of the French National team, Matthieu Khedimi, said that he is looking for a considerable improvement in this year’s World Cup, given the success of the Catalan Dragons in the Super League over the past decade, as well as the pathway the Dragons have provided for local players to sign with other English clubs.
This additional experience should stand France in good stead in Pool A, which sees them up against Australia, England and Lebanon.
“This pool will give us a true indication of the French team’s progress, as we are playing the world’s best Rugby League teams,” Khedimi said.
The full squad is:
Bastien Ader (Toulouse Olympique)
Olivier Arnaud (SO Avignon XIII)
Lucas Albert (Catalans Dragons)
Jason Baitieri (Catalans Dragons)
William Barthau (Toulouse Olympique)
Guillaume Bonnet (SO Avignon XIII)
Julian Bousquet (Catalans Dragons)
Clement Boyer (Toulouse Olympique)
Damien Cardace (FC Lezignan)
Nabil Djalout (Catalans Dragons)
Theo Fages (St Helens) captain
John Boudebza (London Harlequins)
Benjamin Garcia (Catalans Dragons)
Maxime Herold (XIII Limouxin)
Benjamin Jullien (Warrington Wolves)
Thibault Margalet (Catalans Dragons)
Anthony Maria (Toulouse Olympique)
Hakim Miloudi (Doncaster/Hull FC)
Mark Keirallah (Toulouse Olympique)
Roman Navarette (Catalans Dragons)
Eloi Pelissier (Leigh Centurions)
Mickael Rouch (XIII Limouxin)
Gadwin Springer (Castleford Tigers)
Fouad Yaha (Catalans Dragons)
Coach Aurelien Cologni