Halifax Panthers form is key as Larroyer targets World Cup spot with France

Kevin Larroyer hopes good form and strong performances for Halifax Panthers will translate into a World Cup spot as the second-rower sets sights on the French squad, writes Seb Sternik.

By Mark Berry
Friday, 8th July 2022, 8:49 am
Updated Friday, 8th July 2022, 8:51 am

The rearranged World Cup gets underway in October with France scheduled to play their first game against Greece in Doncaster.

“I’ve been in and around the French squad,” said Larroyer. “I’ve still got regular conversation with the head coach. I know where I am at the minute. Obviously, I’m 33 and there are lots of young French players who are coming through, especially in my position. Most of them play regular Super League week in, week out.

“My objective is to perform well with Halifax. I think I’ve been in good form. I want to maintain that for the remainder of the season. If I’m performing for Halifax and we get to the play-off and I’m performing in the play-off, I think I have a chance to get a shirt in the World Cup squad.

Kevin Larroyer. Picture: Simon Hall

“As a competitor I already played in a World Cup and I know how special it is. So definitely this is in the back of my head, but my first objective is to perform well for Halifax because if I don’t perform for Halifax, I have no chance to make it in the French squad.”

Larroyer has made 15 appearances for the French national team, scoring three tries along the way. Three of those appearances took place during the 2013 World Cup as France enjoyed a dramatic 9-8 victory over Papua New Guinea before losing to New Zealand and Samoa.

Larroyer missed out on the 24-man squad for the 2017 World Cup, but was named as one of the four alternatives. France went on to finish bottom of their group following three straight defeats to Lebanon, Australia and England.

This October, Les Bleus will have another tough group to contend with as they prepare to take on England, Samoa and Greece.

With only two teams advancing to the knockout phase, Larroyer believes the opening game against the Greeks could prove pivotal.

He said: “Very very difficult group. We play Greece in the first game – this is a must-win game. If you don’t win this one, your chances will be very limited to come out of the group.

“I think the chance is there, this is a good squad. The important [thing] is to perform well in this World Cup and after to build up a strong squad that will receive the World Cup in 2025 in France.”