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Mate Ma’a Tonga will play the French Les Chanticleers for the first time since 2006 when the two nations clash in a World Cup warm-up fixture this October in Halifax.

The match, which will take place at the Halifax Panther’s homeground, the New Shay, will provide both squads an all important hit out before the World Cup kicks off a week later.

“It’s our privilege to bring the second-ranked team in the IRL to Halifax where they will meet the hosts of the next World Cup,” said former NRL and Super League player Jimmy Smith, project CEO for event promoter NovoSports.

“We know that the rugby league fans of the north will be thrilled by the power of Jason Taumalolo, the brute strength of Katoni Staggs and the blistering speed of Toluta’u Koula.

“At the same time it’s a new dawn for the French game with lots of familiar faces such as Theo Fages and the best of two Super League teams taking Les Bleus into this World Cup and – most significantly – one at home.”

France and Tonga have played each other only two times before, with honours split between the nations.

Tonga will play Cook Islands, Wales and Papua New Guinea in the group stages of RLWC2021, with France playing England, Samoa and Greece.