Lauréane Biville is remarkably upbeat following the French women’s side’s 40-4 loss to England a week ago at Stade Gilbert Brutus in Perpignan.
The overall sense of joy that the French women’s team were at last able to play an international match after a prolonged hiatus and the support the squad is receiving from Luc Lacoste and the French Rugby League Federation overshadowed any disappointment experienced at the end of the game.
“If we forget the defeat, both players and staff were super happy about the game and the week we spent together,” Biville, who played in the second row, revealed to Everything Rugby League.
“We haven’t played for more than a year so we were very excited to finally play a real game and especially at (Stade) Brutus besides each other.
“You always learn something from a defeat, and last weekend we realised how welded we are, and the potential this team has. We still have lots of work to do technically and physically, but we know that, and we’re working on it already.”
The England players recently finished their season after St Helens won the women’s Super League Grand Final on October 10, while the French domestic season was suspended last year with the current competition yet to commence. The French women could have easily used this as an excuse for the scoreline but Biville, who represents RC Lescure Arthes 13 in the domestic competition, insists the squad were well prepared for the international.
“We are fortunate to have a very dedicated and invested coaching staff for us. So we had a program very early by our physical trainer to get ready for the game. But yes it’s always hard physically to play against England, they are strong on the impact and tackles, and fast. So we did our best and I think we did well.”
Despite the loss there were moments in attack where the team threw the ball around in true French style, worrying the English defence and providing an indication of how ‘les Bleues’ will approach their matches in the future.
“We want to develop our skills and because we are not that big in the middle, we want to have a more dynamic and aerial game, with more speed on the edge. But things take time and so building a new game takes time as well.”
Looking ahead Biville, who spent two seasons in Australia at the Brisbane Tigers and made her international debut at age 17, feels there is plenty of improvement left in the team before the World Cup in 2022 and the recently revitalised French Rugby League is responsible for her optimistic outlook.
“Since the new President Mr Lacoste, our federation has given the women’s national team more resources in our preparation. Professional infrastructures at UBB (French Rugby Union club) in Bordeaux, quality hotels for our recovery and financial compensation during our gatherings and match against England. It’s a huge step for the French women’s rugby league, and we are very thankful for that.
“I think it’s time for us to show people that rugby league is a rugby that deserves just as much attention as rugby union in France.
“We all know the past of this sport and we want to regain our former glory and reputation. And these two finals have opened doors for us that we must cross.
“We now have lots of support from Rugby Union with Benard Laporte supporting our desire to host the next World Cup, the Stade Toulousain team who share and support Toulouse Olympic club in their Super League ambition. The channel l’Equipe which broadcast the two matches of France against England.
“Women and men players all want the same things and we’re looking in the same direction: improve our footy level, our competition level and grow like England and Australia did before and still do.
“These are big steps forward for us and our sport, and the best is yet to come!”
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