Bousquet can play in NRL: French coach

Nov 2, 2017 - 6:00 AM France monolith Julian Bousquet has all the attributes needed to make it in the NRL, according to national coach Aurelien Cologni.

The French face the daunting task of keeping their Rugby League World Cup finals hopes alive on Friday when they meet tournament favourites Australia.

The Kangaroos have won their past 14 Tests against the Les Chanticleers, a stretch dating back almost 40 years to when they suffered shock back-to-back defeats in France.

However, Cologni insists more than pride will be at stake in Canberra, revealing Bousquet has piqued the interest of a number of NRL clubs keen to have a look at the Catalans Dragons' prop.

"Honestly, I know that there is a lot of clubs who look at him. He's got the real potential. He's young - he's 25 years old," Cologni said before his team's captain's run on Thursday.

"He's a good bloke; he works hard; he's got a good spirit; he wants to give always maximum."

Bousquet was easily France's best forward in their tournament-opening loss to Lebanon, carrying the ball for 147 metres off 14 carries in a 57-minute effort.

Cologni considered giving his big man a rest before their final pool game against England.

"I spoke with him to maybe make him recover for tomorrow but he was really motivated to play against Australia five days after and still give the maximum for the team," he said.

"Julian is one of our players who can play in the NRL, I'm sure. If he trains with NRL speed, with NRL weights, NRL conditions, he can improve his level too."

Cologni said Friday's Test was a chance for a number of players to impress NRL clubs.

"For the players who want to maybe one day move, they get an opportunity to show what they can do in this situation," he said.

"Not just be happy and proud to play against them, show that you can beat them maybe one-on-one - you can be strong too."

Five-eighth Theo Fages, a 23-year-old from St Helens, has long been considered a young talent, while second-rower Ben Garcia has had two stints in the lower grades at Brisbane and Penrith.

Garcia, who played in the Panthers' Auckland Nines team in 2016, said he hadn't given up the dream of playing in the NRL.

"When I was younger, I was in Brisbane for the discipline, toughness," he said.

"It was really hard but it's life. I'm still young. I can have time to come back and make my debut one day. I was working for that and I haven't give up. I want to come back one day."

Source: AAP

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