Morgan Escare is hoping his move to Wigan can help him win back his place in the France team in a World Cup year.
The 25-year-old full-back played in the 2013 World Cup but lost his place to Catalans Dragons team-mate Tony Gigot for last October’s international against England on the back on a disappointing domestic season.
Escare made just 10 appearances for the Dragons in 2016 after falling out of favour with coach Laurent Frayssinous and jumped at the chance to join the Super League champions, along with Catalans team-mate Romain Navarrete.
Escare insists, however, that he left his hometown club with no hard feelings as he prepares to face them in Saturday’s pre-season friendly at Stade Gilbert Brutus, which rounds off Wigan’s training camp in the south of France and their preparations for the start of the title defence.
I really want to come back from that stronger and fitter, especially with the World Cup at the end of the season,” he said.
“It’s every player’s ambition to represent his country. If I can get a starting place, then it will hopefully have a knock-on effect in terms of my international ambitions.”
Escare will start the season at full-back in place of Sam Tomkins, who is not expected to complete his recovery from foot surgery until April.
“Sam’s clearly a great player with a great pedigree,” Escare said. “To be able to train with him and compete for the shirt is a huge motivation.”
Wigan coach Shaun Wane is delighted to have acquired the services of a player who has yet to fulfil the potential he demonstrated when breaking into Super League.
“He’s an outstanding talent and he’s fitted in well,” Wane said. “His English is not great but his rugby knowledge is out of this world.”
There will also be a reunion in Perpignan for Navarrete while England winger Joe Burgess will make his first appearance since rejoining Wigan and John Bateman, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower and Joel Tomkins are all set for their first run-outs of pre-season.