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French revolution in rugby league can only benefit English game

That’s according to Catalans Dragons winger Tom Davies

Catalans Dragons winger Tom Davies will be doing his best to help England get a win over France on Saturday but knows a competitive Test match can only benefit both countries.

Since his move from Wigan two years ago, the 24-year-old Davies has been able to witness at first hand the French revolution as the Catalans built on last year’s Super League semi-final by winning the League Leaders’ Shield and reaching a maiden Grand Final in 2021.

With Toulouse securing promotion from the Championship, Super League will feature two French teams in 2022 and Davies says the knock-on effect is helping to deliver a boon for rugby league across the Channel.

“It’s gathering a lot of momentum at the minute, it’s really starting to take off there,” he said.

“Toulouse won the Championship and they’re coming up and we won the league this year so there’s a great buzz.

“Kids have got a new hero in Sam Tomkins and they are now going to get involved in the game so we’ll see the effect of that in 10 or 15 years’ time.

“It’s even happening in the French Elite, you look at clubs like Lezignan, Limoux and St Esteve who are starting to build and get good teams – obviously Jimmy Maloney is there next year and Jason Baitieri.

“If we can get the French Elite up to Super League or Championship standard, it’s only going to improve the game.”

Saturday’s Test match at Stade Gilbert Brutus, arranged following the postponement of the 2021 World Cup, is timed to perfection as France finalise their bid to host the next tournament in 2025.

Anglo-French Tests have been held infrequently in recent years following a spate of one-sided matches but Davies knows a strong France can provide England with the northern hemisphere competition they need to help them overtake the southern hemisphere heavyweights.

“The Aussies and New Zealanders get together each year for the Anzac and, if we can get something like that with the French and have a competitive game, it’s only going to improve both the sides,” he said.

“It tests us and brings the best out of us and vice versa.”

Davies made his first England appearance in the mid-season game against the Combined Nations All Stars and will be one of eight new caps in Perpignan.

He was so desperate to play for his country that he drove all the way from the south of France for the game in Warrington in June but, with Covid restrictions eased, he was able to catch a flight this time and is making the most of his time in camp.

“It’s great to spend some time with the boys and be around the camp,” he said. “There are no cliques, everyone gets on well together.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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