England v France Double Header Previews

28 Apr 2023

England Women & Men return to action for the first time since the 2021 World Cup on Saturday when both sides take on France in a mid-season international double-header at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, tomorrow Saturday 26th April. 

Both England teams reached the semi-finals of their respective World Cup's last autumn and this weekend's matches provide the first step on the road to the 2025 World Cup in France.

England Women v France Women (2pm)

New England Women's head coach Stuart Barrow has named a 19-player squad for Saturday's game. 

St Helens' Jodie Cunningham will lead the team for the first time since being named captain and is one of eight Saints players included. Her club teammate - Eboni Partington - is in line to make her England debut after rapid promotion from the National Performance Squad.

York Valkyrie duo Sinead Peach and Tamzin Renouf have had a sensational start to the Betfred Women’s Super League and they return to the international set-up after last representing their country on the 2019 tour of Papua New Guinea. Their Australia-bound teammate Hollie Dodd could also feature on Saturday, before heading Down Under with England teammate Georgia Roche to play in Australia’s Women’s National Rugby League (NRL).

England Women face a French side who they beat 36-10 in last season's mid-season international. The aforementioned Roche crossed for a brace that day, as did Amy Hardcastle. Both of whom will be hopeful of getting on the scoresheet again against a French outfit that shipped 164 points in just three matches during the World Cup.

England Women: Savannah Andrade (York Valkyrie), Keara Bennett (Leeds Rhinos), Leah Burke, Jodie Cunningham (both St Helens), Hollie-Mae Dodd, Grace Field (both York Valkyrie), Amy Hardcastle (Leeds Rhinos), Zoe Harris, Shona Hoyle, Tara Jones (all St Helens), Vicky Molyneux (Wigan Warriors), Eboni Partington (St Helens), Sinead Peach, Tara-Jane Stanley, Tamzin Renouf (all York Valkyrie), Georgia Roche (Leeds Rhinos), Emily Rudge (St Helens), Vicky Whitfield (St Helens), Olivia Wood (York Valkyrie)

France Women: Elisa Akpa (Saint-Estève XIII Catalan), Lauréane Biville (RC Lescure Arthès XIII), Margot Canal (Saint-Estève XIII Catalan), Lauriane Canet (XIII Limouxin), Cloé Guillerot (RC Lescure Arthès XIII), Tallis Kuresa (RC Bègles XIII), Inès Legout (AS Ayguesvives XIII), Sarah Menaa (Saint-Estève XIII Catalan), Lise Michel (AS Ayguesvives XIII), Zoé Pastre Courtine (Saint-Estève XIII Catalan), Mahault Pommier (AS Ayguesvives XIII), Perle Ramazeilles (RC Lescure Arthès XIII), Fanny Ramos (Saint-Estève XIII Catalan), Alice Rieunaud (RC Lescure Arthès XIII), Justine Roses (Saint-Estève XIII Catalan), Dorine Samarra (RC Lescure Arthès XIII), Manon Samarra (RC Lescure Arthès XIII), Salomé Segala (RC Lescure Arthès XIII), Amael Vilanove (AS Ayguesvives XIII), Nabila Zaghdoudi (Toulouse Ovalie)

Referee: Kristoff Young


England Men v France Men (4:30pm) 

There will be plenty of new faces on show when England Men take to the field for part two of Saturday's double-header. 

With only Ben Currie, Kai Pearce-Paul, Jack Welsby and captain George Williams having previously represented England in a Test Match, as many as 15 players could earn their first England caps.

The majority of the squad is made up of players from the current top-two sides in Super League. League leaders Wigan Warriors have six players included whilst seven of the second placed Warrington Wolves are named. 

England will be hoping for a similar result to the last time they met the French. Shaun Wane's side ran out 42-18 winners in front of over 23,000 fans at University of Bolton Stadium on their way to topping Pool A at the World Cup. 

France head coach Laurent Frayssinous has selected a 20-player squad, which includes 12 players from Super League. Fourth-place Catalans Dragons provide 10 of those players so England can be sure of a stern test come 4:30pm Saturday. 

“It is a young and quality group which will face England on Saturday at Warrington. I am very enthusiastic about the idea of ​​working with the players, some of whom participated in the last World Cup and others who will experience our environment for the first time" said Frayssinous . 

"They will be able to blend into the mold of what we have put in place in recent years. The unavailability of certain senior players will give the opportunity to younger profiles to represent their country and I am impatient and very excited to work with them on a daily basis for this match on Saturday. The objective of this test match is to continue to earn the respect of England but also to start building for the big deadlines that await us such as the European Cup at the end of the year and of course the World 2025.”

England Men: Matty Ashton, Ben Currie (both Warrington Wolves), Tyler Dupree (Salford Red Devils), Ash Handley (Leeds Rhinos), James Harrison (Warrington Wolves), Ethan Havard (Wigan Warriors), Tom Holroyd (Leeds Rhinos), Toby King (Wigan Warriors), Mikey Lewis, Jez Litten (both Hull KR), Matty Nicholson (Warrington Wolves), Kai Pearce-Paul, Harry Smith, Morgan Smithies (all Wigan Warriors), Josh Thewlis, Danny Walker (both Warrington Wolves), Jake Wardle (Wigan Warriors), Jack Welsby (St Helens), George Williams (Warrington Wolves).  

France Men: Tiaki Chan (Catalans Dragons), Mathieu Cozza (Featherstone Rovers), Jordan Dezaria (Catalans Dragons), Romain Franco (Saint-Estève XIII Catalan), Mickael Goudemand (Catalans Dragons), Louis Jouffret (Halifax Panthers), Benjamin Jullien (Pia XIII), Mathieu Jussaume (Toulouse Olympique), Matthieu Laguerre (Catalans Dragons), Samisoni Langi (Wakefield Trinity), Paul Marcon (Toulouse Olympique), Anthony Marion (Toulouse Olympique), Arthur Mourgue (Catalans Dragons), Arthur Romano (Catalans Dragons), César Rougé (Catalans Dragons), Justin Sangaré (Leeds Rhinos),Bastien Scimone (Catalans Dragons), Ugo Tison (Catalans Dragons), Florian Vailhen (Pia XIII), Tanguy Zenon (Catalans Dragons).

Referee: Liam Moore