League: France to play Kiwis in NZ tour next year

By Michael Brown

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

France will tour New Zealand next year for the first time since 2001 and included in the proposed three-match tour will be a test against the Kiwis.

The Four Nations will be played in 2014 and 2016, with the next World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2017, meaning there's a gap in New Zealand's international calendar.

The NZRL is in discussions with Australia about an end-of-year test next year on top of the regular Anzac test, which is likely to be played in New Zealand, but France have accepted an invitation to tour here next year.

"There will definitely be a test against the Kiwis and the composition of the other two fixtures hasn't been determined yet," NZRL chief executive Phil Holden said.

The French last toured New Zealand in 2001 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first tour in 1951. The Kiwis won the only test 36-0 but France notched up wins over the South Island, Central Districts and Northern Districts.

France are ranked fourth in the world, but had a poor World Cup and were beaten 48-0 by the Kiwis in Avignon and then ousted by England 34-6 in the quarter-finals.

• Club doctors have welcomed tough new rules brought in by the NRL around the treatment of players suspected of being concussed.

Clubs face the loss of competition points, and trainers possible suspension from the game, if they flout the rules. A player must first be diagnosed by the head trainer and, if required, the club doctor. If a player fails a series of tests, they will not be permitted to return and any contravening of these rules will be dealt with severely. The NRL would investigate any instances of an individual playing on.

"This is a very important change in policy and clubs need to understand the gravity of that," NRL head of football Todd Greenberg said.

"Rugby league is a very tough sport but player health and welfare is at the forefront of every decision we make."

- APNZ

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