League: France knocked by swine flu

France have been hit by swine flu - and knee injuries - ahead of Sunday morning's (NZT) Four Nations rugby league match with New Zealand.

The French have been so heavily hit by misfortune since their game showing against England last Friday that they have been granted an extension by tournament organisers on naming their team after having just 18 fit players at training.

"They've all got swine flu," coach Bobbie Goulding told NZPA.

"Clint Greenshields and Dimitri Pelo are getting around the team hotel in face masks.

"(Strength and conditioning coach) Rodney Howe looks like he's breaking out in the sweats too and now I've started to get the sniffles and feel the same.

"There's no face masks for me yet - I'm a rough and tumble Widnes lad."

Goulding said centre Jean-Philippe Baile, second rower Cyril Gossard, centre Sebastian Raguin (all knee) had been ruled out.

Forwards Remi Casty (hand) and David Ferriol (suspension) were already unavailable.

New Zealand-born pair Arty Shead and Andrew Bentley had joined Les Chanticleers squad, Goulding revealed.

"We had 18 fit players at training - but I'm not one to moan," he said.

"We have to deal with what has happened and we are still determined to give a good account of ourselves."

Bentley is the brother of France hooker Kane and also plays for Catalans while 31-year-old Shead plays for Limoux.


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