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Home advantage key for France's Elima

France captain Olivier Elima is hoping to make home advantage count when his side meet Samoa in the final pool match of the World Cup in Perpignan.
Home advantage key for France's Elima
by AAP

By Ian Laybourn

PERPIGNAN, France, Nov 10 PA - France captain Olivier Elima is hoping to make home advantage count when his side meet Samoa in the final pool match of the World Cup in Perpignan.

Every member of coach Richard Agar's 19-man squad is either a past or present Catalan Dragons player and, therefore, is familiar with the Stade Gilbert Brutus, which will be packed to the rafters for the last Group B match on Monday.

Both teams are guaranteed places in the knockout stages but the losers in Perpignan will be faced with a quarter-final against England in Wigan, with the winners handed the easier tie against Fiji in Warrington.

The French effectively clinched their last-eight spot with an opening 9-8 win over Papua New Guinea, but Elima says they still have a point to prove and sees no better place to do it.

"People wrote us off from the start of the tournament, we have very much come in as underdogs," Elima said.

"We had a bad World Cup tournament in 2008 and we wanted to come into it this year and put that behind us.

"We have been training really well this week in Perpignan. It is good for everyone to be back at home. It is going to be fantastic to play such a big game in front of a home crowd.

Elima is acutely aware of the threat of Samoa, who have been improving with each game since being hammered 52-16 by England Knights in a warm-up fixture.

They staged a second-half rally to rattle the Kiwis and secured their quarter-final berth with a resounding 38-4 win over PNG.

"We have watched both of Samoa's games and they are a very strong side," Elima added.

"They are the kind of players who like to throw the ball about and you cannot rule them out until you have them on the floor tackled."




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