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Updates on French Footy and French Cup now announced

By Alban Schieber

The 2013/2014 season is now officially over in France. Here is a quick overview of the season:

It all started back in September when the Bordeaux Bombers organised with AFL Europe and the CNFA the 2013 Axios Euro Cup. During this tournament the French Coqs made history by reaching the Grand Final and beating Ireland for the first time (34-33). Unfortunately the players were a little short during the final against England Dragonslayers with the end result being 92-15.

The Axios Euro Cup was also a big event for French Women’s footy with the first ever French national team competing for the European Crown against girls coming from all over Europe in the Crusaders team.

Once AFL Europe and all the other teams had left Bordeaux and its wineries, the CNFA went back to work and the clubs as well. When the championship started, the Aix Marseille Dockers were unable to join anymore and were replaced by the ALFA Lions (Lyon).

Here is a summary of the whole championship won by the Toulouse Hawks (see story about the CNFA Grand Final here).

Resultats_CNFA

(Click on picture to enlarge)

In February the Hawks organised another competition, the annual South Cup. Running on the same format as most European Cups, all the teams competed in a seeding round in the morning before playing the finals in the afternoon. This year 6 teams competed including the Toulouse Hawks 1 & 2, Bordeaux Bombers, Montpellier Firesharks, ALFA Lions and the returning Perpignan Tigers. The Bordeaux Bombers won the 2014 South Cup defeating the Montpellier Firesharks in the Grand Final.

In April, France also had the chance to host the annual Topdeck ANZAC Cup held in Villers-Bretonneux where AFL Europe were involved. This year the Aussies came back with the strongest team so far and defeated the French Coqs. We can for sure say that all the boys who played had an unforgettable experience.

Unfortunately, this season didn’t see any French Cup as the CNFA decided that the French Cup will be played in september. “We want the French Cup to become the big start of all our coming seasons. It will be a good opportunity to meet the new clubs and new players and give everyone a chance to show that they can compete in the Championship. This will also allow the national coach to see all the players before every Axios Euro Cup and help him to make his final decision on the team!” said Thomas Urban, CNFA President.

CNFA is also proud to announce that the 2014 French Cup will be held in Bordeaux on September 21st.

1. The possible inclusion of  the Nancy Bobcats and the Pau Bears (new clubs in the process of formation)

2. The Perpignan Tigers will return before joining the 2014/2015 season

3. The ALFA Lions, Paris Cockerels, Strasbourg Kangaroos, Montpellier Firesharks, Toulouse Hawks, Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes and Bordeaux Bombers will once again be there to ensure one of the biggest French Cups.

French clubs

Last but not least, CNFA worked with a communication agency called Bleue Com Une Orange which was in charge of developing our sponsors programs and our social media. This also helped us to reorganise new processes and give a better picture of our sport in France.

Now we are focusing on the IC14 where we hope to offer a good image of our footy and show the world our improvement.

#coqsweek #IC14 #gofooty

Toulouse Hawks undefeated French Champions!

By Alban Schieber

The 2014 French Championship ended on June 14th with a wonderful Grand Final held in Toulouse at the Australian Summer Party organised by the Toulouse Hawks.

Before even knowing if they would play in the Grand Final, it was already determined that the Hawks would be the hosts. After a few weeks of brainstorming, they decided to play another card to attract people to the event.

The Australian Summer Party, DJ, BBQ, drinks, games, goodies and of course footy were on the program. “The idea was to have more than traditional fans for the game! And also more ladies!” said Emilien Martinez (Toulouse Hawks President).

After turning on the music and the beer tap, the afternoon started with a women’s footy game where the ladies of France came to play together in two sides called the Toulouse Hawks and the Toulouse Cockerelles (most of the girls coming from Toulouse and Paris). A great achievement to hold the first official 7-a-side French women’s game.

Most of the early crowd was really surprised to see the level of this game as the girls were putting so much intensity and passion in the game. “Handpasses, kicks, shepherds, goals, high marks, their skills set improved a lot since the Axios Euro Cup held in Bordeaux” said Pascal Ivorra the French Women’s Coach.

This was a great first step for women’s footy development. This game also helped him to see all the ladies before the 2014 Axios Euro Cup which will take place in London in October.

During the ladies curtain raiser game, the temperature kept on rising in the grandstand when the two men’s teams entered the change rooms to begin their pre game preparations.

The Hawks were the first ones to come out in front of a 500-600 people crowd followed by the Paris Cockerels for a remake of last year’s title.

Pat Douglas from Andorra came to umpire the game and was delighted to be part of the event.

The Cockerels were the first ones to put their hands on the ball scoring three behinds in a row within the two first minutes. Unfortunately, they were unable to score goals to make a small break. After a good play of handpasses, the Toulouse Hawks scored the first goal of the game after 5 minutes! Quickly followed by a second and third one. At quarter time the Hawks held the lead at 38 to 12.

In the second quarter  the Paris Cockerels seemed to have found their sight for the footy but not the precision. The Hawks on the other hand remained accurate and kept increasing their margin. At half time Toulouse lead 62-23.

The third quarter demonstrated the ability of Toulouse to play as a team while Paris got caught out kicking long bombs and hoping for individuals performance. 101-36.

In the last quarter Toulouse managed to capitalise on the situation and control the game. However the Cockerels began a late surge scoring consecutive goals but it was too late. The Hawks came away as champions on the day with the final score of 104-62.


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French Ladies

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Paris Cockerels vs Toulouse Hawks

France one step closer to the IC14

From hosting the Axios Euro Cup for the first time to playing in their first Axios Euro Cup final, France enjoyed much success in the AFL Europe competition in 2013.

The form team of last year is now looking to continue their successful run in Melbourne at the 2014 International Cup.

President of the CNFA (National Committee of Australian Football) in France and Head coach of Les Coqs, Thomas Urban, believes that his team has the potential to cause some upsets, but they still have a way to go before they can take on the big guns.

“We played Papua New Guinea three years ago and they smashed us. We are not ready for them yet.”

Since finishing 14th in the 2011 International Cup, Urban and the CNFA have grown the game exponentially in France, to the point where they are considered one of the stronger European teams.

Preparation for the International Cup began two years ago when Urban chose many of the players he hoped would play in the French team however some things have not gone to plan.

“Because of the money problem, some of our more experienced guys will stay in France,” said Urban. “It does however allow an opportunity for some of the young guys who could be brilliant in the next couple of years.”

Included in the team who will be attending are stars of the 2013 Euro Cup, speedy midfielder Joevin L’Hotellier and Les Coqs imposing captain, Grégoire Patacq.

“We also have two big ruckmen who I’m sure everyone will be paying attention to,” said Urban. “Thomas Depondt, who learned his craft playing for the Lock Roos in South Australia and Clément Coste who was one of the best AFL Quebec players last year.”

The French connection runs deep with some of the players having also played or been involved in the Canadian team.

“Playing Canada would be great,” said Urban. “Our inside knowledge could give us the competitive edge.”

Another advantage that the French will enjoy is the advice of Richmond Tiger’s player, Daniel Jackson, who will be sharing his knowledge of the game with the team once they arrive in Melbourne.

Having also just crowned a champion in their local season (Toulouse Hawks), the French will be prepared for any challenge that comes their way this International Cup.

“We will carry our momentum through from the season and hopefully come away with a few wins.”

#coqsweek #IC14

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Thomas Urban, President of the CNFA and Head coach of Les Coqs

Topdeck ANZAC Cup updates for this weekend

The Topdeck ANZAC Cup game will take place in Villers-Bretonneux in France this Saturday the 26th of April at 3:30pm.

The Australian team will take on the French team led by Thomas Urban, President of the CNFA and coach of the French national team:

“The 2014 Topdeck ANZAC Cup is a very important step for the French National team this year. We need to confirm our last great performance from the 2013 Axios Euro Cup in Bordeaux [France reached the Grand Final in the competition] and prepare the team for the International Cup. For 70% of the players this game will be their first international game representing the French team.

Even more importantly, this year marks the celebration of the World War 1 centenary and we would like to highlight the French-Australian friendship through this event.”

Most of the French clubs will be represented in the French team:

Paris Cockerels: Stephen CASSAVETTI

Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes: Thomas COCHET

Alfa Lions: Thomas DEPONDT

Strasbourg Kangourous: Joévin L’HOTELLIER

Bordeaux Bombers: Yoann ALLIOT-MARTY, Alban SCHIEBER (Captain), Cyril DEBET

Toulouse Hawks: Yvan BARBARIA, Adrien DAVID, Julien GIL, Simon MONDIN, William TAPIA, Florian VIDAL

The Australian players will come from all around Europe and Australia to play this important game and represent their country.

Australia: Phil CLEGGET, Joe DURLING, David HIGGS, Paddy HIGGS, Sam HIGGS, Matt HOOK, Dale HOUSDEN, Oliver HOWARD, Jack LAWSON, Ben MACCORMACK (Coach), Patrick MCGRATH, Ryan PRICE, Tom RISCHBIETH, Ben ROGERS, Brendan STEAD.

The umpires for the game will be Niels SCHONNEMANN and George WOOD.

After having run the London Marathon on the 13th of April, the AFL Europe CEO Ben MacCormack is ready to coach the Australian’s and is looking to redeem the 40 point loss from 2013. “This is a real highlight of the AFL Europe calendar that has been developed by the CNFA, the local towns ABA members and some proud Aussie’s over the years. It is a real privilege for AFL Europe to be involved and we will have our Chairman Chris Dow and Commission Member Michelle Morgan with their families present for the event. The town makes such an effort to host proceedings throughout the week and we would like to give special thanks to Xavier and his team of volunteers for all the work put in to make the event happen”. MacCormack said.

“Having Topdeck (naming rights) and the Australian Embassy in France (best player medals) support the event also shows that companies want to connect with this important commemoration for the ANZAC’s that fought on the fields that we now play games of footy on. It’s a special weekend and I hope a big crowd can get along to see an exciting contest.” MacCormack concluded.

Although rivalry will be high the most important feature of the day will be to honor and celebrate those who gave their lives to form an integral part of our shared history.

Event updates will be available on AFL Europe social media.

#topdeckanzaccup

Anzac Cup 2014

Topdeck ANZAC Cup Australian Spirit squad announced along with naming rights sponsor

In a huge coup for AFL Europe and the CNFA, Topdeck have committed to the naming rights sponsorship for 2014 Topdeck ANZAC Cup in Villers Bretonneux – France. Topdeck have long been the tour company of choice for ex-pat Australian’s travelling around Europe and are just as popular in Australia for travelling Europeans looking to discover more of Australia.

“It seems a natural fit for a company with such strong connections between Europe and Australia to get involved in a historic event like the ANZAC Cup” Kerry Tate, Sales Manager from Topdeck said.

“We are very excited to further explore the synergies between our companies and how we can assist in the growth of events like the Topdeck ANZAC Cup and connect with both Australian and European travellers when they are booking tours in both regions” Tate continued.

Whilst the deal is for this years event only at the moment there are plans in the works to further extend the partnership.

“AFL Europe is very keen to impress on Topdeck the value of being associated with the strongest sporting brand in Australia and a proud, passionate and growing membership across Europe” AFL Europe CEO, Ben MacCormack said.

“Partnerships like these are what will progress our sport in Europe not too mention the importance of securing the future of this particular event to both the Australian’s and French that have been involved in the past.” MacCormack continued.

Topdeck have tours running through the Western Front for this years ANZAC Day commemorations which include a visit to the Villers Bretonneux memorial. They have many other amazing trips ready for you to book in 2014. Check them all out at www.topdeck.travel  

 

The team to take on the French in this years Topdeck ANZAC Cup and try and avenge the 40 point loss from 2013 has now been announced. We look forward to getting together with you all in Villers Bretonneux for what is sure to be a memorable experience.

Australian Spirit

Paddy Higgs

David Higgs

Sam Higgs

Brendan Stead

Dale Housden

Matt Hook

Ryan Price

Patrick McGrath

Joe Durling

Todd Davey

Ben Rogers

Phil Clegget

Ben MacCormack

Jack Lawson

Tom Rischbieth

 

Public are invited to attend the Topdeck ANZAC Cup which will take place at Stade Timmerman from 3pm in the centre of historic Villers Bretonneux. More details coming soon.

Paris Cockerels won Bordeaux Bombers in the French competition

In France, the national competition is ongoing. On Saturday 23rd, two of the best historical teams in France were facing each other in Saint Médard en Jalles (venue were was hosted the last Axios Euro Cup).

The ground wasn’t as nice as the Euro Cup ones as the Rugby and rain seasons restarted but it was a nice day to play footy.

The game was really nice to watch and both teams were evenly match. Each team had a lot of opportunities to win the game and the experience of the Paris Cockerels helped them to secure the win a couple of minutes before the final whistle. The final kick of the Bombers was touched by one of the Cockerels giving the Bombers a behind and a 5 points win to the visiting side.

Final Score: Bordeaux Bombers 12.10.82 – 13.9.87 Paris Cockerels

 

Will Maley, coach of the Bordeaux Bombers and Angus Makintosh, follower of the Paris Cockerels (one of the best on the ground that day) shared their feelings about the game :

 

Will Maley :

1/ How was the game?

The game was played in great spirit and intensity from both sides. Obviously for us it was disappointing to come away without the win, but to Paris’ credit they held their composure and were particularly strong defensively.

2/ What were for you the main moments of the game? Why did Bordeaux lose the game?

We had a great start to all the quarters which is a credit to the team. It shows they were switched on from the first minute which as a coach is fantastic to see as you know they are there to play. As the quarters played out we tended to have a few minutes where our intensity dropped or we couldn’t find a way to goal. When you are playing against a side like Paris that has a lot more experience in the sport this comes back to hurt you. I thought when we switched Clement (ruck) to defense and brought Alex in to ruck we started to control the game as we were able to dry up their forward movement, sadly Alex got injured which impacted us. Paris had a great match from their full back who marked anything that came in to the forward zone meaning that we had to attempt goals from too far out or scrap for opportunist goals from the ground. A few indiscipline acts and situations where our new players were uncertain on rules impacted us in terms of giving away free kicks which gives us more to work on. Against the best teams, these have dramatic impacts on the scoreboard. Overall, we gave ourselves every opportunity and it wasn’t through a lack of effort or desire that we weren’t able to win.

3/ What is your favorite memory of this game ?

I would have to say the tackle that Pascal put on in front of the Paris bench was fantastic! Beyond that, I thought when our play clicked we played some incredible footy and now our challenge is to do it more often.

4/ What does this loss mean for the Bombers ?

From an overall perspective it shows us where we are at. For me and the team we are getting more of an understanding on what we need to do to improve. For a team of French playing against a team with many Australians you learn a lot tactically and technically. To win the league, we now have a match against Toulouse which is a must win for us to stay in the hunt and we will work hard over the next 3 weeks to give ourselves every chance.

5/ What are your personal/team objectives for this new season ?

For me it is my first season coaching so there is many challenges in this. When you growing up watching the game from a young age you have different ideas and perceptions, so for me it is about understanding where the guys are at and how we can build their skills and understanding of a sport that has many subtleties. I also want to help the club build awareness in the community so that we get good crowds at home games, build our player numbers and hopefully one day a second Bordeaux side. For the viability of the competition, I am a big believer that 2 clubs in the bigger centres such as Bordeaux, Toulouse, Paris, etc would greatly strengthen the competition. For the team, we are probably in a year of transition, we have had a number of long term players move on for travel & family reasons and we have some great guys who have joined the team and offer an incredible future for the club. We don’t want to have a dip in our performance and competitiveness so expect to see the Bombers there fighting for the league and the various cups on offer.

 

Angus Makintosh :

1/ How was the game?

The game was one of the most competitive I’ve played in. It was a real pleasure to have a physical match that was played in good spirits where both teams were very evenly matched too.

2/ What were for you the main moments of the game? What helped the Paris Cockerels to win the game?

I think some of the last ditch defending at the end from the likes of Mathieu and Gaz was probably what helped us. Nico managed to get a miraculous touch on a shot that would’ve been the goal that won Bordeaux the game so that had to be the key moment.

3/ What is your favorite memory of this game ?

Kicking a run-around banana goal with the left foot at the end felt pretty good! That or the final whistle.

4/ What does this win mean for the Cockerels ?

I’ve only been with the Cockerels for a couple of months but you could tell it meant a huge amount. It was such a tough match against good opposition that we were delighted to win.

5/ What do you do to involve new local players ?

We’ve held ‘bring a friend’ training sessions where every member of the team has to bring someone. We’re also holding a training session for a Parisian school next week to try to involve more youngsters.

6/ What are your personnal objectives for this new season ?

I’m not here for very long! But probably to try and help the Cocks as much in the league until I leave. And maybe come back if they reach the final!