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Career highlight

Rlwc2017
Sunday, November 05, 2017

Mark Kheirallah is somewhat of an anomality. The French fullback with a thick Australian accent amongst a team of passionate French born and bred players.

However, the 27-year-old who plies his trade for Toulouse created the "highlight of his life" when he scored a length of the field try against the country of his birth.

"It was unbelievable," Kheirallah said.

"It was the highlight of my life I reckon, not just the career. It's certainly something that I'll remember forever."

Having come through the Roosters junior pathways with Australia's Boyd Cordner, Kheirallah's career has taken a very different path to his former teammate. After making one NRL appearance for the Roosters in 2011, Kheirallah decided to embark on an adventure to play rugby league in France.

"It was just something different," Kheirallah said. "I was feeling a bit sluggish here in Sydney and I just felt like something different and going over there rekindled the flame. I haven't looked back since."

During his time with Toulouse Olympique, the fullback slowly established himself as one of the best fullbacks in the country which resulted in him making his international debut two weeks ago against Jamaica.

Despite having earned the right to be a part of France's World Cup squad, Kheirallah was nervous to join the squad as the only player to not have been born or raised in the country.

"I thought that with me being an outsider, it would be a bit hard," Kheirallah said. "Since arriving in the team, all the boys have been really welcoming, friendly and embracing."

France head coach Aurelien Cologni was thrilled with his fullback's efforts throughout the tournament so far.

"When Mark comes onto the field he always enjoys it and always brings positive sensations," Cologni said. "His run was fantastic … the effort was perfect."

Kheirallah was appreciative to have his coach's confidence.

"Aurelien has been great," Kheirallah said. "He's put a lot of trust and faith in me to organise our defence. He backs me 100 per cent and his support is unbelievable."

After losing their first two games of the tournament, France now head to Perth to face England as they attempt to keep their World Cup aspirations alive.








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