Autumn Internationals: England expect stern France test
AUTUMN INTERNATIONAL SERIES: ENGLAND v FRANCE
- Craven Park, Hull KR
- Saturday 3 November
- Live on BBC One, BBC Sport website and mobile phones from 14:15 GMT; watch again on BBC iPlayer
England coach Steve McNamara says he does not expect a repeat of their one-sided thrashing of Wales when they meet France on Saturday.
McNamara's men beat Wales 80-12 last weekend and now meet France twice in as many weeks, the second of which will be the Autumn Internationals final.
"It's never dull against the French," said McNamara.
"I think it's going to be a pretty fierce French team because they've got some very good players."
All of France's 20-man squad are past or present Catalan Dragons players and, with the Perpignan side having reached the Super League play-off in each of the past two seasons, McNamara acknowledged the influence of Dragons coach Trent Robinson on the national side.
"The influence that Trent had on the Catalan team been pushed into the French team, who have always been renowned for being physical but they've actually got some subtlety as well," said McNamara.
"There is a big Australian influence with the way they play with the ball. They present challenges all across the park.
"They have some big human beings and they can play some of those forwards like Sebastian Raguin in the outside backs so it can make their team even bigger."
England eased to victory over Wales without Super League Man of Steel Sam Tomkins, but the Wigan full-back has recovered from a knee injury to take his place against France.
Tomkins, who has 12 tries in 13 internationals, needs to cross the line once at Craven Park to equal the all-time try scoring record for England, set by former St Helens and Wigan winger Alf Ellaby in 1935.
"Sam Tomkins is a danger, especially with his kick returns," said France coach Aurelien Cologni.
"But I don't want to just focus on him. We need to focus on us firstly. We know that, if we drop a lot of ball or make too many errors, it is not just Sam Tomkins who will beat us."
France opened their Autumn Internationals campaign with a 20-6 win against Wales but have not beaten England in 13 attempts since February 1981.
"Now we want to be able to show the French Federation and the French fans that we can give England a very good game," continued Cologni, who must wait for the outcome of the French Federation presidential election later this month to discover if he and assistant Thierry Dumaine will keep their jobs.
"We don't want to concede 80 points like Wales.
"I'm excited because, after beating Wales twice, I want to know where we are against teams like England, Australia and New Zealand."