A dense fog had barely lifted when the Roosters arrived at the National Institute of Sport, Expertise, and Performance in Paris.
The 2018 premiers had travelled almost 17,000 km around the world to be greeted by bitterly cold conditions as the temperature gauge struggled to reach 1C.
You’d be mistaken if the Bondi boys were still stuck in Sydney’s heatwave though. Skipper Boyd Cordner arrived in thongs declaring “I love this weather. How good is the cold”.
Next in line was Luke Keary, whose footwear was slightly more appropriate. The Clive Churchill Medal winner joined the ever-growing rugby league trend, by showing off his "socks and slides" combo.
Once into the appropriate footwear, the Roosters greeted their opposition – Toulouse Olympique – in the middle of the dewy pitch,where fullback James Tedesco reunited with his roommate from Italy’s World Cup campaign, Dean Parata.
NRL.com was on hand to witness the Roosters' opposed training session against Toulouse Olympique in Paris before their World Club Challenge showdown with Wigan. Rarely is the media given the opportunity to watch an NRL team’s entire training session, with cameras usually ordered to be switched off after 15 minutes – before players even break into a sweat.
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A dedicated group of Toulouse fans made the 700km trip north to Paris, to see how their team fared against the game’s best.
They joined a contingent of local media and a couple of hundred other league lovers who watched on – one wore a Roosters jersey while another was sported a Chooks beanie.
After both teams went through their warm-up, Roosters coach Trent Robinson took the reins.
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The two-time premiership-winning coach loved being back in France, having played for and coached Toulouse before becoming one of the game’s best mentors.
Robinson was heavily involved throughout the session. He called plays, identified the threat of one of Wigan’s finest – “that’s where Sean O’Loughlin will be” – while he also injected himself into the play.
When Daniel Tupou was being tested under the highball by the Tricolours halves, Robinson turned back the clock and acted as an opposition player trying to put the 196cm winger off. Several times he told Tupou "just a touch more back shoulder" – a term his team understood but other onlookers didn’t.
New Roosters assistant Adam O’Brien also looked right at home in his role as Robinson’s understudy – and so too did recruits Brett Morris and Angus Crichton.
Morris is 32, but he looked lean, fit and fast on the left edge, while Crichton slotted in on the right.
They were the new faces, but all eyes were on one of the oldest – Cooper Cronk.
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There was no need to hire a helicopter and have it hover above to get a glimpse of the champion playmaker – a tactic media outlets employed in the lead-up to the 2018 grand final.
After surgery in the off-season, the 14cm crack in Cronk’s left shoulder blade has healed. The 35-year-old took hits while holding a tackling pad and didn’t take a backward step during the opposed session.
"He’ll definitely play," Robinson confirmed.
"He’s been good for a long time. Obviously we haven’t had cameras at training, but he’s physically good. He’s ready to go."
Cronk and Keary ran the attack against Toulouse while WCC hopeful Lachlan Lam chimed in as he tries to earn a spot in Robinson’s 17 in a bid to face his dad and Roosters great Adrian Lam who doubles as Wigan’s coach.
This opposed session wasn’t just a tick of the box while in France.
Big men Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Lindsay Collins wore mouthguards while Cronk demanded "power, power, power" from his team’s engine room.
In between the warm-up, drills and opposed session, there was room for some banter too – the Roosters kit man asking Toulouse’s water boy "did you forget your water mate?" after he helped himself to the travellers’ supply.
In their most intense hit-out since being crowned 2018 premiers, the Roosters looked extremely impressive. They were slick in attack, dominant in defence and seem ready to prove to any doubters, they are the world’s best.
After the opposed session, players from both teams mingled but Robinson’s job wasn’t done yet.
The Roosters coach is fluent in French and it was fascinating to watch as he facilitated and conducted his own press conference with the local media in their language.
"[Back home] we keep our eyes sort of closed in on Australia and New Zealand," Robinson said.
"I love rugby league and I love rugby league in France. They don’t get the credibility they deserve, so I wanted to highlight that. That was one of the reasons [why we came to France]. They’re good quality players, they’re a good quality country and they love their rugby league."