Paris (AFP)

Emmanuel Macron will travel Thursday to the National Rugby Center Marcoussis (Essonne) to encourage the XV of France before his departure for the World Cup starting September 20 in Japan.

The head of state "will encourage" the players and "show the hopes of the French" before they go to Tokyo, said the Elysee.

Accompanied by Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu, he will lunch with the group of 31 players selected for the competition. He will also have informal discussions with the coach Jacques Brunel and his assistants as well as with the president of the French Rugby Federation Bernard Laporte.

This visit is reminiscent of Emmanuel Macron's action with France's men's and women's football teams in Clairefontaine (Yvelines) before the 2018 World Cups in Russia and 2019 in France.

"These competitions, we win them first when we are not afraid," he told the Blue June 4.

A year earlier, he had enjoined the Bleus to win "the second star", ie a second title of world champions after that of 1998. He then went to Moscow for the final won by France against Croatia 4-2.

In Marcoussis, Emmanuel Macron could also take stock of the preparations for the Rugby World Cup to be hosted by France in 2023.

© 2019 AFP