All sixteen teams for #NRL Round 1 are in!
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It may have been a predictable final even months before the tournament actually kicked off, and whilst Ireland and Scotland went very close to causing an upset and knocking the French out of the tournament, the Chanticleers have made the final of the inaugural European Nations Cup, taking on the English rising stars at Warrington's Wilderspool Stadium.
France will go into the clash as underdogs, after failing to impress against both the Irish Wolfhounds and Scotland Bravehearts in their preliminary round games before the final. Taking nothing away from the Irish and Scottish, who both played extremely passionately for their nations, but the two regions both do not have the same player depth as that of the England A team.
France's representative season has not been overly impressive except for when the French Presidents XIII pushed the Australian side for the whole 80 minutes, with the national team either only barely winning or losing clashes that everyone thought they should win comfortably, including the Victory Cup final against Russia, and the Mediterranean Cup final against Lebanon.
Still this may be taking something away from the quality of opposition at the time against the French, as well, is not fully taking into account that the Chanticleers do have some very talented players they can call up into their squad, including Jerome Guisset, who is a regular at Wilderspool playing with Rugby Super League club, Warrington, and Cedric Gay.
Australian duo, of Dumas and Elima, look to be unfortunately out of the tournament, being sent home by the French Federation earlier than many expected, whilst the Wakefield-Trinity professionals also look to be out of potential selection, hurting France's professional depth.
England A's biggest problem facing this match with complacency. They have not been truly challenged by either the Russians or the Welsh, and after going so close against Australia will possibly feel the European Nations Cup is theirs.
With a very professional outfit, and one of the best up and coming halves combinations in international league at the moment in the likes of Burrow and McGuire, the side has the edge on the other five nations in the tournament. They are of course not invincible, and by having a relatively small forward pack, a French side which steps up their defence may frustrate the English enough to lose the match themselves.
The likelihood this will happen based upon the professional attitude the English have shown so far is unlikely, and unfortunately for the French will mean that they will go home from Wilderspool without any silverwear.
The match still should be very entertaining, and it is encouraged that anyone who has the chance goes to the game at Wilderspool. If you can't make it, make sure you turn your television onto Sky Sports to catch the action live.
England A V France Sunday November 16 Kick off: 2:00pm Referee: Karl Kirkpatrick (England) Venue:Wilderspool Stadium,Warrington
England A Team: TBA
France Team: TBA