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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP)
The performances of the Catalan Dragons and the Toulouse Olympics, which will evolve together into the English elite next year, have shed a new light on the French rugby union, which the federation wants to take advantage of, a candidate for the organization of the World Cup 2025 .
Still marked in body and mind by an intense battle lost on Saturday against St Helens (12-10) in the Super League final, Dragons captain Benjamin Garcia still took the distance needed to assess the scope of his team’s historic journey. Pie.
“Many people, who didn’t necessarily know rugby union, were interested in our sport. We must ride this wave”, he heated analysis in the bowels of Old Trafford, the majestic theater of England’s championship final, The “Drax” were the first foreign formation to reach “.
Broadcast live on beIN Sports and Catalan television, the match also made headlines in some editions of the daily L’Equipe on Saturday. A rare media exposure to rugby union, a typical sport in France, where it almost disappeared after being banned by the Vichy regime in 1941.
Toulouse Olympique (TO), winner of Featherstone (34-12) on Sunday in the English second division final, will join the Catalans in the prestigious Super League next year, with Benjamin Garcia hoping the current enthusiasm for the discipline is “not a flash in the pan”. “.
– “ultra telegenic” –
In XIII French rugby league president Luc Lacoste sees the successes of the Dragons and TO as “only a first step”.
“This sport is ultra telegenic,” he told AFP. “He is far less publicized, while he is ultra modern in his method of operation and his game. I think the media will realize that.”
The leader relies heavily on the organization of the 2025 World Cup, which should be officially honored by international bodies in the coming weeks.
According to him, the French candidacy aroused the enthusiasm of English-speaking countries, eager to see the emergence of new actors: “everyone is counting on the return of France to the concert of the great nations”.
To achieve this, Luc Lacoste, elected as head of the federation in December 2020, has several projects ahead of him: notably to make the French Championships more professional and to develop the discipline beyond his traditional stronghold Occitania. For.
“It doesn’t happen overnight, but we are making progress,” he says. “We have two very big clubs (Dragons and Teo), but we must not forget that our French Elite 1 championship is also turning out to be a beautiful and a great championship”.
French rugby union’s beautiful autumn isn’t over yet: a double “crunch” (men’s and women’s) France-England will take place on 23 October at the Gilbert-Brutas Stadium in Perpignan’s Hangout, Perpignan.
© 2021 AFP
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