Western Rams to host France as international rugby league heads to Parkes

IN THE RUNNING: Parkes gun Sam Dwyer is one of a handful of options at fullback for coach Tim Ryan to consider to take on France. Photo: PETER CLARKE
IN THE RUNNING: Parkes gun Sam Dwyer is one of a handful of options at fullback for coach Tim Ryan to consider to take on France. Photo: PETER CLARKE

Rams coach Tim Ryan is hoping the best players in the region throw their hands up for selection after Western secured a game against France at Parkes in October.

The green and whites took on les Chanticleers at Bathurst in 1990 and the two proud rugby league regions will rekindle that rivalry when the French arrive in Australia for their tilt at the World 9s in Sydney later this year.

Western's rendezvous with the Federation of Francais is a serious boon for the game in the west and Ryan is excited about the prospect of selecting and working with an open Rams side, given the country championship team he mentored earlier in 2019 was capped at an under 23s level.

With former NRL players Chris Grevsmuhl, Josh Starling, Justin Carney, Travis Waddell and Jack Littlejohn all playing across the Rams region in 2019, Western's potential starting side would be a strong one, while Ryan indicated those players in teams that enjoy premiership success in either Group 10 or Group 11 competitions come September would also be well in the running to take on France.

"Hopefully there's a lot of excitement around something like this, it's a pretty unique opportunity to be part of," Ryan said.

"To pick from the whole of the Western region will be great. We'll see how it all plays our with their footy but we'll touch base again later in the year with a few guys and check their availability.

"It's funny timing at the end of the year ... you don't play a lot of footy in October, but I'm hoping everyone is keen and we pick a strong side."

Western has played against FIRLA - the Federation of Italian Rugby League Australia - in recent years but this French outfit will be a full-blown national one, with players from the Super League and Elite One Championship competitions making up the tri-colours.

PICK ME: Orange Hawks backrower Rakai Tuheke has already represented Western this season but is keen to be part of a Rams side that plays France later this year. Photo: PETER CLARKE

PICK ME: Orange Hawks backrower Rakai Tuheke has already represented Western this season but is keen to be part of a Rams side that plays France later this year. Photo: PETER CLARKE

The game will be played on a Wednesday night under lights at Jock Colley Field, in Parkes, and Western Rams chairman Peter McDonald was thrilled to again welcome France to the region.

"It's terrific news for Western Rams, we played France in 1990 at Bathurst in the lead up to their test match against Australia that year, it's great to continue the tradition and have them back," he said.

France will contest the World 9s in October in Sydney and agreed to the game as a way to finish their trip down under in Parkes.