OFFICIAL previews of this weekend's Northern Rail Cup National League action from RFL's Neil Barrowclough.
FRANCE Rugby League are going into their opening Federation Shield fixture against England at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds on Sunday (Kick ?off 5.45pm) confident that they can win.French team manager Gilles Dumas speaking from the team?s headquarters in France said: ?We?re very motivated for the match against England on Sunday.?Playing against England at any time is very special and our players have set their hearts on playing well against the English this time as well as in the rest of the tournament.?Last year England beat us 22-12 at Headingley Carnegie Stadium and it was a very close encounter. This year we hope to win?.Dumas, a former French international stand off half, added: ?It?s also very exciting for the French team to play against both Samoa and Tonga in the tournament.?We?re not used to playing against either country and, because many of their players have played in Australia?s National Rugby League, it?s going to be a fruitful experience for our players. The Samoans and Tongans will be robust and play a strong game.?I believe that the Federation Shield is great preparation for all four countries as they prepare for the 2008 World Cup?It gives the Head Coaches an opportunity to assess the level of progress their teams are making as well as the players having the experience of competing against players they do not know.?The French players are really excited about taking part in the Federation Shield and they can?t wait to start playing.?Renaud Guigue (Carpentras) Olivier Charles (Villefranche) Damien Couturier (Hull KR) Teddy Sadaoui (Carcassonne) Frederic Zitter (UTC)James Wynne (Toulouse) Julien Rinaldi (Harlequins) J?r?me Guisset (Catalans, captain) David Berthezene (Catalans) Adel Fellous (Catalans) Olivier Elima (Wakefield) Aurelien Cologni (Lezignan) Gregory Mounis (Catalans) Jamil Fakir (Catalans) S?bastien Raguin (Catalans) Jean-Christophe Borlin (St Gaudens)Maxime Gr?s?que (Pia) Matthieu Griffi (Catalans) Coach: John MonieSource: www.therfl.co.uk
SEVEN players from Leeds Rhinos have been included in the England team to face France at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on Sunday (Kick off 5.45pm).
TWO Harlequins RL stars, Solomon Haumono and Tyrone Smith, are included in the Tongan team to face Samoa in the opening match of Rugby League?s newest international competition, the Federation Shield, at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds on Sunday (Kick off 3.45pm).
HARLEQUINS RL loose forward Rob Purdham will captain England in the Federation Shield, which gets under way in Leeds on Sunday.
ENGLAND coach Paul Cullen has included four members of Hull FC?s beaten Grand Final team in his 19-man squad for Sunday?s Federation Shield match against France at Headingley.
SCOTLAND will have just three engage Super League players in their team to face Wales in a World Cup qualifier at Bridgend on Sunday, October 29.
THE touring Tongan team will face Cumbria in a representative fixture at Derwent Park, Workington on Wednesday, October 25 (Kick off 7.30pm).It is the latest fixture for the revived Cumbrian county team that has previously played against New Zealand ?A?, Anzac Rugby League and Ireland. Cumbria is a county in the very North West of England with a rich history and participation in rugby league.Tonga will be in the country as they are participating in the Federation Shield tournament against England, France and Samoa. The Federation Shield is international Rugby League?s newest competition.Simon Malcolm, the RFL?s Director of Marketing, said: ?Cumbria is one of the key areas in Rugby League?s heartlands and the Cumbrians have a fierce pride in their county team.?Tonga should provide Cumbria with serious opposition as they will have just played in the Oceania Group of the World Cup Qualifying Competition and the opening round of the Federation Shield.?This is a wonderful opportunity for Cumbrian fans to see a top-class international team as well as players who ply their trade in Australia?s prestigious National Rugby League.?The Cumbrian team will be coached by Barrow Raiders? Head Coach Paul Crarey, who takes over the role from Warrington?s Gary Chambers.The Cumbria County squad for the game is:- Liam Harrison, Liam Finch, Brett McDermott, Mike Whitehead (All Barrow Raiders), Ade Gardner (St Helens), Matt Gardner (Huddersfield Giants), Gary Broadbent, Craig Calvert, Derrie Eilbeck, Carl Rudd, Scott McAvoy, Howard Hill, Marc Jackson, Carl Sice (all Whitehaven), Dean Burgess, Sean Lunt, Dean Vaughan, Jamie Beaumont (all Workington Town).Source: www.therfl.co.uk
TONGAN head coach Jim Dymock is looking forward to his return to England.