Wales to play first rugby league international since 2018 with World Cup warm-up in France
Wales’s international rugby league team will play France in a mid-season international, it has been announced.
The game in Albi, south France, is scheduled to take place on Sunday, June 19 and will be Wales’ first full international since they beat Ireland 40-8 in November 2018 to qualify for the World Cup.
The match falls in the international weekend and will provide both teams with valuable preparation for the delayed World Cup at the end of the season.
Wales head coach John Kear said: “I think that all nations need to take advantage of the free international weekend.
“As we’ve not played as a team for a number of years now, I see this as essential preparation for the World Cup against formidable opposition.
“The French game has had a renaissance recently – they’ve had success with Catalans and Toulouse and they’re hosting the 2025 World Cup.
“The game will be a tremendous challenge. It’s away from home and it will really test our mettle to see what we need to work on to improve for the World Cup.
“We’ll have a good team out – as it’s a free weekend we can select from all who are available from Super League.”
Wales are 23rd in the Rugby League world rankings.
It will be the 44th meeting between the two nations. France were victorious the last time they met, recording a 54-18 victory in October 2018 in Carcassonne to clinch the European Championship.
France were last in action in October when they lost 30-10 to England in Perpignan in Laurent Frayssinous’ first match as head coach.
Frayssinous said: “This Test match will allow us to take an additional step in our preparation for the World Cup.
“We know what we need to improve and we have set targets to achieve in this Test match against Wales.
“Wales is a proud nation, who always give their best on the pitch and are very well organised and trained by John Kear, a former coach of the France team who always knows how to bring out the best in his players.
“They are made up of quality players from Super League like the wingers Regan Grace and Rhys Williams as well as Caleb Aekins, the former Canberra Raiders full-back in the NRL, to name a few.
“I can’t wait to meet our players and staff to prepare for this match, to be confronted with this formidable Welsh team, and to continue to build the cohesion and the culture of our team.”
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