2018 Rugby League European Championship: France 54-18 Wales

Elliott Kear
Wales captain Elliott Kear was in the London Broncos side which beat Toronto Wolfpack 4-2 in the 2018 Million Pound Game

Defending champions Wales were beaten 54-18 by France in their Rugby League European Championship opener.

The hosts built a 24-0 lead in Carcassone thanks to two tries by Paul Marcon and scores from Hakim Miloudi, Bastien Ader plus Tony Gigot's kicking.

Josh Ralph and captain Elliott Kear hit back late in the first half with debutant James Olds adding the extras.

Marcon later claimed his hat-trick, with Rhys Curran and Morgan Escare crossing before Olds' consolation try.

Wales Rugby League's tweet reads: Wales had their spells on pressure on France's line but, ultimately they were second best.

However, Romain Navarette and Escare underlined France's superiority with late scores to take their try tally to nine - leaving a young Wales team contemplating how to compete with any team packed with Super League players.

Wales travel to Galashiels to face Scotland on Friday, 2 November and then host Ireland at Wrexham's Racecourse Stadium on Sunday, 11 November.

Ireland beat Scotland 36-10 in Saturday's tournament opener and they will host France on 3 November in Dublin in what could be this year's pivotal encounter.

The top two in the four-team round-robin event will qualify automatically for the 2021 World Cup, with the other two sides entering play-offs.

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