Super League’s Histoire Boys
Wigan Warriors’ French Connection set to make Super League history
Morgan Escare and Romain Navarrete to become first ever Frenchmen to play in a Super League Grand Final
- Duo speak of their pride of representing French rugby league in Super League’s grand finale in a landmark year for the sport in France
Wigan Warriors duo Morgan Escaré and Romain Navarrete are set to make Rugby League history this weekend by becoming the first French players to take part in a Betfred Super League Grand Final on Saturday (13th October 6.00pm).
The 21st Betfred Super League Grand Final sees Wigan Warriors tackle fierce rivals Warrington Wolves in the Championship-deciding Grand Final at the home of Manchester United, Old Trafford. In Rugby League’s showpiece end of season finale, the Warriors’ French duo of Escaré and Navarrete are in contention to add to a landmark year for French Rugby League, following the success of Catalans Dragons becoming the first French team to win the Rugby Football League’s Challenge Cup, by becoming the first Frenchmen to run-out at Old Trafford in the Betfred Super League Grand Final since its conception in 1998.
Prop-forward Navarrete has enjoyed a strong season for the Warriors, becoming a cornerstone of Wigan’s feared forward pack. The French international has made 24 appearances for Shaun Wane’s side this season either at prop-forward or loose-forward and is in-line to face England as part of France’s squad for their upcoming four-match international series that also sees them face Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
Full-back Morgan Escaré has made 27 appearances, showing glimpses of his dazzling best from the interchange bench in a supporting role for Warriors’ starting full-back Sam Tomkins for the majority of the 2018 campaign.
On Monday the Wigan Warriors squad visited Old Trafford ahead of Saturday’s Grand Final, and speaking about the upcoming landmark, Navarrete said: “I’m happy to represent my country on Saturday by becoming the first Frenchman to be in a Grand Final at Old Trafford alongside Morgan. I’m pretty excited. Hopefully we walk away and become the first French champions of Super League.”
It is a sentiment shared by his fellow countryman, Escaré: “If we win on Saturday night it’s a win just as much for my country. It is a big, big story because me and Romain would be the first Frenchmen to play in and hopefully, win the Grand Final. Every day my friends call or text me to say good luck, my family are all very excited and my Dad has come over to England to watch the game.”
The game will be played at the home of Manchester United. The English Premier League giants boast French World Cup winner Paul Pogba and fellow French international Anthony Martial in their star-studded squad, and both Navarrete and Escaré are looking forward to following in the footsteps of their countrymen by running out at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday evening.
“It was good to walk around the pitch on Monday see just how big the stadium is,” said Navarrete, his teammate Escare added: “I can’t wait to be there (Old Trafford) on Saturday, it’ll be a great occasion.”
The Grand Final will be the sixth time Wigan and Warrington have faced each other this season in all competitions, with Wigan boasting three wins to Warrington’s two in meetings between the two English giants.
“It’ll be a good game definitely,” said Navarrete. “It’s a final and if we are there it’s because we are both good teams. We have won some, they have won some and it’ll be a tough game – we have a lot of respect for Warrington. Escaré added: “It’s a very tough game. I remember from the Challenge Cup earlier this season (where Warrington ran-out 23-0 winners) when we got beat. This is a big game and Warrington are a big team.”