27th October 2018, 06:13
Preview: France v Wales
Check out our preview to find out everything you need to know ahead of Wales' European Championship opener and 2021 Rugby League World Cup qualifier against France.
Wales will begin their defence of the European Championship and get their 2021 Rugby League World Cup qualification campaign underway with a trip to France today (5pm UK time).
John Kear’s men will go head-to-head with the French in Carcassonne and it’ll be the first time the two sides have met since 2015, when Wales beat their visitors at Cardiff Arms Park.
With places at the next World Cup, held in England, up for grabs for the top two in the European Championship, there is plenty to play for during this autumn’s internationals.
Both Wales and France have named their 19-man squads for today’s fixture.
FRANCE 19-MAN SQUAD: Bastien Escamilla (Carcassonne XIII), Lucas Albert, Jason Baitieri, Lambert Belmas, Alrix da Costa, Tony Gigot, Mickael Goudemand, Benjamin Jullien (all Catalans Dragons), Hakim Miloudi (Hull FC), Thibaud Margalet (St Esteve/XIII Catalan), Theo Fages (St Helens), Bastien Ader, William Barthau, Rhys Curran, Paul Marcon, Stanislas Robin (all Toulouse Olympique XIII), Morgan Escare, Romain Navarette (both Wigan Warriors), Valentin Yesa (XIII Limouxin).
WALES 19-MAN SQUAD: Dalton Grant (Bradford Bulls), Chris Vitalini (Coventry Bears), Josh Ralph (Easts Tigers), Chester Butler, Connor Davies, Curtis Davies, Dan Fleming, Sion Jones (all Halifax), Ben Evans, Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams (all London Broncos), Elliott Jenkins (Rochdale Hornets), Gavin Bennion (Salford Red Devils), Ben Morris (St Helens), Rhodri Lloyd (Swinton Lions), Courtney Davies (unattached), James Olds (West Brisbane Panthers), Morgan Evans, Steve Parry (both West Wales Raiders).
There are six uncapped players in Wales’ 19-man squad so a number of players will be making their debuts.
The players yet to make an appearance for the Dragons at senior level are Chris Vitalini, Connor and Curtis Davies, Sion Jones, Elliott Jenkins and James Olds.
Elliot Kear, meanwhile, will become the 47thplayer to captain Wales after being appointed the new skipper ahead of the autumn internationals.
📽 VIDEO | We caught up with @Kear53 earlier ahead of his first game as #WalesRL 🏴 captain against @FFRXIII tomorrow!— Wales Rugby League 🏴 (@WalesRugbyL) 26 October 2018
🗣 “It’s the biggest honour a Welshman could have!”#rugbyleague
FRANCE’S ONES TO WATCH
Theo Fages: The halfback was part of a St Helens side that dominated Super League for large parts of the 2018 season. Although Fages didn’t always start in the halves, he was regularly in the matchday squad and Saints could rely on him to have an impact off the interchange bench.
Morgan Escare: The former Catalans Dragons man has been on the books at Wigan Warriors over the last couple of years. He is always a threat from fullback with his pace and trickery.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE MATCH
The match will also be streamed live on the BBC Sport website.
A match report and full reaction will be available on walesrugbyleague.co.uk.