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France to host England for test in buildup to RL World Cup

September 16, 2021 GMT

LEEDS, England (AP) — England will play France in an international test in October as part of their buildup to the Rugby League World Cup delayed to next year.

The World Cup was scheduled for October in England but was postponed to 2022 after Australia and New Zealand pulled out, citing player welfare concerns in the COVID-19 pandemic.

France will host England on Oct. 23 at Stade Gilbert Brutus in Perpignan, near the Spanish border.

“A test match in France is a good option for us this autumn as we refocus on the World Cup in 2022,” England coach Shaun Wane said in a statement on Thursday. “The France game will come with less than a year until our World Cup opener against Samoa in Newcastle and that makes it an important part of our planning.”

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It will be the first match for Laurent Frayssinous since his appointment as France coach. The former Catalans Dragons coach said it will be “the first step of our program and plan” to prepare for the World Cup.

“We have not played for two years in France,” he continued, “so this is an excellent opportunity for all fans and players to come back to Brutus, which is known as a hostile land for all English teams.”

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