Wednesday 24 May 2017

Aston looking to upset odds in historic French clash at Thomond

Ireland will make history tonight when they host France in the first rugby league match to be held at the rugby union stronghold of Thomond Park in Limerick.

The international will bring down the curtain on the 2011 European Championship, with the Irish looking for their first win in five meetings against the French to leave all three teams -- including Scotland -- tied on two points.

A French victory would see them crowned champions following their 46-10 win over the Scots in Perpignan last Saturday, and go some way to making up for their agonising defeat to Wales a year ago.

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Ireland, who drew 30-30 with France in 1997, have Paul Handforth, Kyle Amor and James Haley back after missing the 30-6 friendly defeat to Wales in Neath a fortnight ago.

"We're capable of what people will probably say is a shock against France," said Mark Aston, who is still looking for his first win as Ireland coach.

France coach Bobbie Goulding will again rely heavily on players from Catalan Dragons as they hunt victory on Irish soil.

Ireland (from) -- P Barcoe (Carlow), E Cosgrove (Dewsbury), L Finn, J Mulhern (both Featherstone), B Beswick, P Handforth, J Haley (all Halifax), G McNally (Huddersfield), L Ambler, C Casey (both Leeds), J Taylor (North Dublin), P Boyle (Oxford), T Bergin, P Smith (both Sheffield), I Cross, A McCloskey (both St Helens), G Corcoran (Toulouse), K Amor (Wakefield), T McCarthy (Warrington), S Carmody (York).

France (from) -- T Saddaoui (Carcassonne), O Elima (Bradford, capt), J-P Baile, J Baitieri, T Bosc, R Casty, V Duport, J Fakir, C Gossard, E Pellissier, M Simon, C Stacul, F Vaccari (all Catalan Dragons), K Bentley (Lezignan), D Chisholm (Melbourne), J Bousequet, D Cardace, M Pala (St Esteve-XIII Catalans), O Arnaud (Avignon).

Irish Independent

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