13 Nov 2022
Clausells: France will have to improve in final
The skipper was content with their semi-final win but wants to see more
By Megan Armitage at EIS Sheffield
France may be only 80 minutes away from a third World title but captain Gilles Clausells believes his team still have work to do following their 84-40 win over Australia.
Mostefa Abassi's four tries against the Wheelaroos cemented him in the history books as the highest try scorer in a single World Cup, with Jeremy Bourson's five and Florian Guttadoro's hat-trick firing France into their third successive final.
They will face England in the Manchester showpiece on Friday but must first focus on the uncharacteristic errors they made against Australia.
Clausells said: "This was always the aim. To join the final and see what happens next.
"We worked really hard in that game. Our key is having those quick and fast players and we used them to our advantage today but there's still a lot to work on.
"We made quite a few mistakes there so we will look at what we can improve on, but we are doing everything to get our name on that trophy again.
"What I can say is that if 40 points are scored against us in the final then we won't be world champions.
"We are there to win and defend what we've already won."
Australia head coach Brett Clark might have been disappointed with the overall result but felt his team's ability to force errors from the world no.1 side demonstrated their improvement.
The Wheelaroos fought back in an exciting second-half battle and were able to add a further 30 points to their half-time score.
? Félicitations France!
The reigning champions will be defending their title in Manchester next week, we can't wait.#RLWC2021 | @FFRXIII pic.twitter.com/uCinszitPS
— Rugby League World Cup 2021 (@RLWC2021) November 13, 2022
a strong first half from France left Australia with too much to do and Clark
said: "There's definitely some positives from that game, once you get out
of that initial annoyance.
"We did claw back with some points but we knew that when you give out the number of points that we did so early on, it's hard to leverage anything back.
"We made a lot of errors ourselves on our play the balls, but we were able to capitalise on a lot of uncharacteristic errors on France's part as well, which was brilliant.
"So there were probably frustrations on both sides there."
With just three years until the next World Cup in France, the Wheelaroos already intend to bring back their fighting spirit to rival once more, having learnt from exposure and experience this time round.
"We're going to head back to Australia to try and make a road-map on what there is to do but there's a lot of our players who hadn't played internationally before," added Clark.
"So there's a lot of game play and experience we've been able to get over here.
"I've got a group of players who know what needs to be done now, so next World Cup we should be up there again."
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