Olivier Elima was not born the last time France beat England but he is confident they can spring an upset in Saturday's international at Craven Park.
The French have lost 13 consecutive matches to England since beating them 5-1 at Leeds in February 1981 and were hammered 60-6 on their last visit to England two years ago.
The teams scrapped the traditional mid-season Test after a series of one-sided affairs but Elima insists his team will be competitive on Saturday and in next week's final. "It's probably better this way because there are so many players from Catalan Dragons and so much tension over the release of players," said the France captain.
Elima, who is returning to Catalan Dragons in 2013 after a two-year spell at Bradford, added: "In mid-season, you don't really give 100% because you don't want to get hurt. When we know we've got England at the end of the year, pretty much everyone can join and we can really go for it."
Elima, 29, believes the French have embarked on a new era under the coaching team of Aurelien Cologni and Thierry Dumaine, who were handed the reins following the end of Bobbie Goulding's three-year tenure 12 months ago.
Their fortunes hit rock bottom in the 2008 World Cup but Goulding helped put them back on the right track for 2013 and Elima, who is now settled back in Perpignan with his wife and two young daughters, is hoping a strong performance against England can prove it.
"It should be interesting," he said. "I think we've got a pretty good team. It's one of the strongest we've had for years. There's only Ferriol and Jean-Philippe Baile missing. We've not come here to get beat, we're here to compete and get a win. That might sound a bit pretentious but that's our goal and we do really believe in that. Everyone is working in the same direction.
"It's a new set-up and a new era after Bobbie. Aurelien Cologni has changed a few things and beating England would be a great start for us. We're definitely thinking of having a great performance and making it hard for England."
Centre Jean-Philippe Baile is sidelined with a ruptured bicep tendon while prop David Ferriol has retired to his vineyard. With Jamel Fakir also out with a hamstring injury, Elima may have to step into the front row, as he did in the 20-6 win over Wales.
This time he will share the duties with Mickael Simon, who has recovered from illness, as well as Remi Casty and part-time rookie Romaric Bemba, one of five non-Catalan players in France's 20-man squad.