Rugby League World Cup preview: France v New Zealand
By Sam Drury - Follow on Twitter. Last Updated: 01/11/13 7:15pm
France take on reigning champions New Zealand in both sides' second Rugby League World Cup fixture in Avignon on Friday.
Both sides got off to winning starts, albeit in contrasting fashion. Richard Agar's French team edged out Papua New Guinea 9-8 thanks to a William Barthau drop goal following Thomas Bosc's early score.
The Kiwis meanwhile ran in eight tries as they defeated Samoa 42-24 in Warrington on Sunday, Manu Vatuvei scoring a hat-trick.
New Zealand are without Thomas Leuluai who will not be risked due to an ongoing groin complaint while superstar Sonny Bill Williams is rested.
Head coach Stephen Kearney has confirmed that Vatuvei picked up knocks to both his knee and his ankle in the clash with Samoa.
As a result, Jason Nightingale and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will start on the wings.
"Manu Vatuvei picked up a knock to the knee and ankle on Sunday night," said Kearney. "He mightn't be able to train fully this week, but it was always my intention to give Jason a run.
"Roger had a good game against Samoa and it'll be good for him to have another match this weekend."
Bryson Goodwin and Krisnan Inu will start in the centres.
France make two changes to their squad as Antoni Maria and Cyril Stacul replace match-winner Barthau and Clint Greenshields. A total of 15 Catalan Dragons players are included in the 19-man squad.
France: Jean-Philippe Baile, Andrew Bentley, Kane Bentley, Thomas Bosc, Remi Casty, Vincent Duport, Olivier Elima, Morgan Escare, Theo Fages, Jamal Fakir, Benjamin Garcia, Kevin Larroyer, Antoni Maria, Gregory Mounis, Eloi Pelissier, Sébastien Raguin, Mickael Simon, Cyril Stacul, Frédéric Vaccari.
New Zealand: Kevin Locke, Jason Nightingale, Bryson Goodwin, Krisnan Inu, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Kieran Foran, Shaun Johnson, Ben Matulino, Issac Luke, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Frank Pritchard, Alex Glenn, Simon Mannering, Elijah Taylor, Sam Kasiano, Frank-Paul Nu'uausala, Greg Eastwood, Jesse Bromwich, Josh Hoffman.
2013 Rugby League World Cup
This years' Rugby League World Cup has been hailed as the greatest of all time by the organisers. Australia claimed their 10th title by beating New Zealand in the final in front of a record attendance.
RFL chief executive Nigel Wood is confident the sport will capitalise on the success of hosting the World Cup.
We take a look back at the highs and occasional low from probably the best World Cup to date.
- Hetherington wants more cups
- Wallace commits to Scotland
- Widdop left gutted by defeat
- Tomkins devastated by defeat
- Burgess defends brother George
- Johnson expresses relief
- Kangaroos leap into final
- Sheens tribute to Civoniceva
- Australia v Fiji: Teams
- Burgess out to deny Williams
- Aussies wary of physical Fiji
- Foran highlights main threats
- Two video refs for World Cup
- Civoniceva gets Wembley buzz
- Fiji too strong for Samoa
- England disappoint McNamara
- England stroll into semis
- Sheens retains Slater hope
- Australia put USA to the sword
- Samoa v Fiji: Teams
- Williams injury played down
- Kiwis stroll into semis
- Sheens: Slater has learned
- Brough set for toughest test
- Scots ready for biggest task
- Kiwis wary of Henderson
- Farah dropped for US clash