Written by Stuart McLennan
It’s been a whirlwind past 12 months for French Rugby League. Luc Lacoste took over the role of Chairman of the French Rugby League Federation, Catalans Dragons made the Super League Final and Toulouse Olympique were promoted to the top division. The icing on the gateau was France recently being confirmed as host of the 2025 Rugby League World Cup.
Oui mesdames et messieurs rugby league is bubbling in France and at the forefront is Catalans Dragons livewire utility and crowd favourite Arthur Mourgue.
The 22 year old, whose preferred position is halfback, has played in the halves, fullback and hooker at the top level. He came through the Catalans academy system and established himself in the top grade in 2021, being rewarded with selection in the French national side that played England last October in Perpignan.
There is a feeling amongst supporters the diminutive Frenchman’s best is still to come and he is likely to be a fixture in the national side for many years to come.
“It's very special to play for the French national team, especially in the stadium I used to play at every weekend and in front of my family, '' Mourgue told Chasing Roos.
“It’s always an honor and a pleasure to represent the country.”
An ankle injury meant Mourgue wasn’t on the field for the commencement of Super League this season but he is hoping to be back by April.
“I’ll try my best to recover well but it’s always hard when the season starts. You want to be part of the team to help your teammates but I’ll have to wait. I’ll be back in 2 months.”
Mourgue will almost certainly add to his lone senior international appearance later this year at the Rugby League World Cup where France are grouped with England, Samoa and Greece, however he is cautious about his nation’s chances at the tournament.
“It will depend on the preparation and the amount of players who compete at the top level this year. We have some great talent and a good staff so we are in a good position to start this World Cup.”
Speaking of the World Cups, Mourge is looking forward to his country hosting the tournament in three years time.
“It’s a real dream for a French rugby player to have the opportunity to play a World Cup in his own country so I’m pretty excited and I’ll do my best to be part of the French team in 2025.
“It's hard to imagine the impact of the World Cup in our country but I guess it will show that rugby league is a beautiful sport and I hope this event will accelerate the development of this sport in France.
“I think it’s just the beginning. It’s good to see another French team in the Super League. Last year was a big year for French rugby league. Of course I was surprised to see so many media (outlets) talk about our sport and also the excitement around the Dragons Catalans final.
“We cannot stop now, we need to bring this sport to another level in France.”