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Sacre bleu: Young French import thrown in at the deep end

The plan was to have French import Raphael Cousin make his debut for the East Campbelltown Eagles in the under 23s match on Sunday.

However the weather intervened and heavy showers forced the cancellation of the lower grade match where the 21 year old Frenchman was to wear the Eagles colours for the first time.

But when a first grade player pulled out of the team’s Sydney Shield lineup against Moorebank Rams at Waminda Oval, young Raphael was given a chance to play in the top grade for his debut.

“He did really well, we are happy with how he went,’’ said Eagles president Daniel Draper after the match of Raphael, who is an outside back.

Daniel Draper was behind Raphael Cousin coming to Campbelltown from the Toulouse region to play for the Eagles for the remainder of the season.

Bonjour: French rugby league player Raphael Cousin, 21, with East Campbelltown Eagles president Daniel “French Connection’’ Draper at The Bradbury Hotel last Friday.

Unfortunately for the Frenchman, the Eagles lost just for the third time this season, going down 26-18 to the Moorebank team in the round 11 clash.

It means the reigning premiers have slipped to third place on the ladder with 22 points, six behind runaway leaders Cabramatta, and one behind St Marys.

Moorebank Rams hit the ground running form the get go, putting on two quick tries for a 10-0 lead.

The Eagles hit back through Amanono Tovio to narrow the margin to four points.

The Campbelltown boys looked like they were struggling in the wet conditions and Moorebank capitalised with another try to extend the lead to 14-6.

But when former NRL star Shannon Gallant injected himself into the game with a try, the Eagles closed the gap to 14-12.

Moorebank responded with a brilliant try to take a 20-12 to the break.

The Rams scored again early in the first half for a handy 26-12 lead, but in true Campbelltown spirit the Eagles fought hard and started to dominate some field position.

When Vince Ripepi took advantage of a fast Aaron Teariki play the ball to cross the try line under the post, the Eagles were back in the game 26-18.

The next 20 minutes Eagles threw everything at Moorebank, but to the credit of the Rams they defended brilliantly in the heavy conditions to hold out for a 26-18 win.

“Even though we went down today, I couldn’t be prouder of the team’s efforts,’’ coach Richard Barnes said post match.

“We started slow, got ourselves behind in points but we fought all the way to the siren.

“We threw everything at Moorebank in that last 20 minutes, but to their credit they defended well and their completions were outstanding considering the conditions – they are a quality football team,’’ Barnes said.

Best for the Eagles were Shannon Gallant and Mason Talolua, man of the match went to Aaron Teariki and players’ player to Andy Fiagatusa

The Eagles will travel to Asquith this Sunday – quite possibly with a young Frenchman among them – to take on the Magpies.

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