Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson's deep connection with France compelled him to accept the role of FFRXIII director of rugby.
Robinson, who began his coaching career at Toulouse and had charge of Catalans before leading the Roosters to the 2013 premiership in his first season with the club, will re-unite with newly appointed France coach Laurent Frayssinous ahead of this year's World Cup.
The 43-year-old, a fluent French speaker, met his wife Sandra Stefan while living in Toulouse where he played for Olympique before taking over as coach in 2005.
"I owe so much to French rugby league and the country as well, from a coaching perspective but also from a family perspective so it was a really simple choice for me when this opportunity arose," Robinson told NRL.com.
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"It is something I have thought about for a long time. I love the place and I love what rugby league means to the rugby league community over there."
"I am pretty single-minded when it comes to the Roosters, but I talked to [Roosters chairman] Nick Politis about it and it is not a coaching role, it is more of a guiding role, so I think it suits that I can help without taking away from the Roosters."
Frayssinous was an assistant to Robinson at Catalans in 2011 and 2012 before becoming the first Frenchman to coach in the Super League when he took over the top job in 2013.
After being offered the role with France, Frassinous asked Robinson to be involved. It is a masssive boost for the hopes of les Chanticleers at the World Cup in England, which begins on October 23.
However, Robinson views his role as an ongoing one and wants to restore France to its former glory as one of the world's top league-playing nations.
"It is a big task and that is why you have got to be in love with the game of rugby league and with France," the three-times Telstra Premiership winning coach said.
"I couldn’t say no to something that has given me so much so whatever the task was I was going to take it on. I have told them that this is not a short-term thing for me, I want to see it build."
New FFRXIII president Luc Lacoste said the appointment of Robinson, considered one of the best coaches in the game, highlighted France’s ambition to again be a force at international level.
"His experience at a very high level should allow the French team to grow quickly and soon find themselves in the top five of the world elite," Lacoste said. "His involvement is a credit to the French team and its ambitions."
I owe so much to French rugby league and the country as well, from a coaching perspective but also from a family perspectiveNew France director of rugby Trent Robinson
Robinson said he had been impressed by his dealings with Lacoste since the 54-year-old businessman's election as president of the French governing body in December.
Once considered a powerhouse of the game, France failed to reach the quarter-finals at the 2017 World Cup after a shock 29-18 loss to Lebanon in Canberra and heavy defeats against Australia and England.
"It is almost the only country that is quite separate to the rest of the rugby league world in that you don’t have heritage players," Robinson said.
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"France has been a rugby league nation for a long time but it has almost been on its own. England have really tried to help but France has been flying the flag for Europe since 1934."
Many of France’s leading players declined to travel to Australia for the 2019 World Cup 9s and a match against the Junior Kangaroos, whose 62-4 triumph at WIN Stadium sounded the death knell for Aurelien Cologni’s tenure as coach.
"Certain mistakes from the past have required us to make some hard choices," Lacoste said.