The Wales Rugby League men’s side will return to action on Sunday, June 19 as they travel to Stadium Municipal d’Albi to take on France (kick-off time TBC).
It will be the first time in 1,316 days that the Wales men’s side will have played a full international, with much of the break due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Wales did take part in the 2019 Rugby League World 9s in Sydney (meeting France during that tournament), but their last 13-a-side match was on November 11, 2018 when Wales beat Ireland to qualify for Rugby League World Cup 2021, since postponed to this autumn, with Wales kicking off on Wednesday, October 19, when they take on Cook Islands in Leigh.
Head coach John Kear is looking forward to the encounter: “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’ll really test our metal 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.”
France head coach Laurent Frayssinous said: “”This test match, which takes place during the weekend dedicated to the international window, 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 fullback in the NRL, to name a few.
“I can’t wait to meet our players and staff to prepare for this match, and to be confronted with this formidable Welsh team, and to continue to build the cohesion and the culture of our team.”
Ticketing and TV broadcast details will be announced soon.