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French international says playing in Australia was the best decision of her life

30 Mar 21, 11:25AM 0 Comments

Written by Stuart McLennan

French rugby league player Lauréane Biville is hoping that her experience playing in Australia will hold her in good stead for the 2021 World Cup later this year.

She spent two seasons playing for the Brisbane based Easts Tigers as well as making a guest appearance for NRLW side the NZ Warriors in the 2020 NRL Nines and being selected in a Gold Coast Titans representative team. Lauréane was forced to return home in April 2020 due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

“This experience was the best decision of my life as a player and as a young adult. I went to Australia with one goal: play a game at the NRLW level,” the 21-year-old centre told Everything Rugby League.

“Playing alongside women who love to train really hard, with a very professional environment/staff, and a very competitive competition. It was a dream.

“I love hard competition and that feeling when no one knows you and think you’re this little Frenchie with a bad footy level. It has been my biggest advantage on the field.

“I’ve learned so much in two years about how to improve my footy skills, my athlete routine. You know when you have the chance to get trained by the best coaches, you have to be the best all the time. My experience with the Warriors has been the best moment of my career. And it’s my best memory since I started footy. It showed me all the hard work I’ve done and what I still have to work on.”

Lauréane Biville playing for Easts Tigers in QLD Cup

Biville commenced playing rugby league 10 years ago after she “had enough of gymnastics” and made an agreement with her brother Louis.

“Louis made a deal with me: I had to make one footy training. And I said yes. At the end he asked me to play one season, and I said yes. Since that day I had never stopped.

“I did my first three years with boys and had the chance to continue to train with them during my high school years in youth sports academies in Carcassonne.

“Training and playing with them has been very challenging for me, but it’s also the period I developed my skills a lot, set my goals and built my player identity. Without those years of hard work I probably would never have played my first international match at just 17 years old.”

Lauréane and her brother Louis Biville

Louis Biville (Lauréane’s brother) is a burgeoning French rugby league star in his own right, recently making his debut for Limoux in the Elite 1 competition. However Laureane insists there is no sibling rivalry when it comes to sport.

“He played his first game against St Gaudens. He was number 18, so he was there in case a player got injured during warm-up. And that’s what happened.

“They put him front-row which is not his position (he always played hooker). But he did really well for his debut. I was super proud of him. He’s been working so hard the last 3 years you know, and I enjoy watching him on TV.

“There is no competition between us. Not at all! I know people like to compare our successes and try to make one jealous about the other, but we are big now and we are just super happy and proud when one of us accomplishes something.”

Growing up Biville moved through a number of clubs to suit her studies and ensure she maximised development, playing at Vernajoul, Limoux, Carcassonne and Toulouse Ovalie before leaving for Australia. Currently she is with Lescure d’ Albi however due to injury and the pandemic her preparation has been less than ideal.

“I didn’t live very well on my return to France. I had very bad shin splints that I just fixed recently. And with the pandemic our competition has been canceled so I think I’ll have to train on my own until next season. It’s not easy for everyone, we try to keep training as we can.”

Lauréane Biville playing for New Zealand Warriors

Biville has the motivation of a World Cup later this year to keep her going, albeit in a tough pool with France being grouped with Australia and New Zealand.

“It’s a very special feeling (playing for your country) and a precious moment when you are a player, especially the first time (She debuted for France against England in 2016 at 17 years old).

“I remember thinking about all these hours spent on the field doing the same things again and again until it’s perfect. All these moments of doubts, all the sacrifices I’ve made during 5 years just for this moment. It’s just your moment,” Biville, who has a women’s tournament in Cameroon named after her, recalled.

As far as goals for herself and the French team at the 2021 World Cup the five time international takes a cautious approach.

“Personally I’ll just try to play my best games: do what I have to do and do it well. As a team I don’t know. I haven’t played with France since I left France and we will have a new coaching staff so I think we will just try to do our best. But I’m not in the squad yet so there’s still work to do before!”

Long term, perhaps reflecting the times we live in, the young star is weighing up numerous options.

“My first goal is obviously the World Cup. But if I make it I’ll have achieved all my goals in rugby league. So maybe going back to Australia would be an option, or maybe England where I already have some contact. Maybe play rugby union or just stop everything. I can’t tell yet.”

Lauréane Biville playing for the Gold Coast Titans

For the sake of French, and women’s rugby league, here’s hoping Lauréane Biville continues to play the greatest game of all.

France open their 2021 World Cup campaign against New Zealand at LNER Community Stadium, York on 10 November 2021.

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