20 Oct 2022
What are the teams for England v France men at the Rugby League World Cup?
The two unbeaten sides in Group A go head to head in Bolton on Saturday
By Jack Lacey-Hatton
After both made winning starts to their Rugby League World Cup campaigns, England and France meet in a crunch clash in Bolton on Saturday.
In a game that could go a long way to deciding who finishes top of Group A, both will be looking to maintain momentum following key wins in the opening round.
England sent a warning to the other men’s tournament favourites with an emphatic 60-6 win over Samoa to kickstart the competition on Saturday.
But France also got off the mark two days later with a 32-12 win over a game Greece team.
Shaun Wane has shuffled his pack for the host nation’s second game, bringing in all seven players not in the matchday squad against Samoa with Kai Pearce-Paul, Andy Ackers, Marc Sneyd and Joe Batchelor set to win their first caps.
Those not involved include St Helens trio Tommy Makinson, lock Morgan Knowles and prop Matty Lees while Catalans Dragons hooker Michael McIlorum will not have the chance to play against several of his clubmates with Wigan prop Mike Cooper also missing out.
France meanwhile have retained the bulk of their side that got off to a winning start in Doncaster on Monday night.
READ MORE: Emotional Ackers reflects on journey from labourer to world stage
So who will seize control of Group A at the University of Bolton Stadium this weekend?
England: 19 Andy Ackers, 22 Joe Batchelor, 12 John Bateman, 8 Tom Burgess, 4 Herbie Farnworth, 4 Herbie Farnworth, 5 Ryan Hall, 18 Chris Hill, 9 Michael McIlorum, 23 Mikolaj Oledzki, 24 Kai Pearce-Paul, 13 Victor Radley, 21 Marc Sneyd, 10 Luke Thompson, 1 Sam Tomkins, 3 Kallum Watkins, 6 Jack Welsby, 11 Elliott Whitehead, 7 George Williams, 14 Dom Young
The two winning sides in Group A meet on Saturday!
England and France have named their squads ahead of a big clash at the University of Bolton Stadium.#RLWC2021 | @England_RL | @ffrxiii
— Rugby League World Cup 2021 (@RLWC2021) October 20, 2022
France: 10 Lambert Belmas, 9 Alrix Da Costa, 8 Jordan Dezaria, 1 Morgan Escaré, 13 Benjamin Garcia, 7 Tony Gigot, 17 Mickael Goudemand, 11 Benjamin Jullien, 4 Matthieu Laguerre, 3 Samisoni Langi, 19 Corentin Le Cam, 6 Arthur Mourgue, 14 Éloi Pélissier, 2 Arthur Romano, 23 César Rougé, 15 Justin Sangaré, 12 Paul Séguier, 16 Gadwin Springer, 5 Fouad Yaha
England have won their last 20 matches against France and have not lost to them since February 1981 (1-5); England have also won all four of their matches against France which have taken place in the Rugby League World Cup.
The two last met in October in Perpignan with England running out 30-10 winners, with two tries from John Bateman who returns to the squad for this game having served his suspension.
Only at three previous Rugby League World Cups have France not played England (or when they previously competed as Great Britain) - in 1995, 2000 and 2008.
England made the perfect start to the tournament with a comprehensive win over Samoa in their opening game at St James’ Park in Newcastle.
They also won their sole warm-up game against Fiji in similarly convincing fashion by 50-0.
The England team look to have hit top form at the perfect time and will be aiming to secure their spot in the quarter-finals at the first available opportunity.
READ MORE: France 34-12 Greece: Mourgue's 18-point haul and Jullien double seals win
France are second behind England in Group A on points difference, after a 34-12 victory over debutants Greece on Monday.
That victory means only England have inflicted defeat on Les Tricolores in the seven matches they have played since the last Rugby League World Cup in 2017.
Statistically, France have already improved on their last outing at the tournament, having lost all three of their group games five years ago in Australia.
Players to watch
- Sam Tomkins made 25 support runs throughout the first round, four more than any other player in the competition and seven more than France’s best Morgan Escare (18)
- France’s hooker Alrix Da Costa made 37 tackles in the first round, the most of any player not to miss a single attempt during the round.
The Rugby League World Cup promises to be the biggest, best and most inclusive event in the sport’s 127-year history with men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams competing in 61 games across 21 venues throughout England. Tickets are available via rlwc2021.com/tickets