Six world champions under 20 appear this Saturday in the selection of "Barbarians", the reserve team of the XV of France, opposite Tonga.
by Adrien Pécout (La Teste-de-Buch, Gironde, special envoy)
Blue sweaters. A rugby ball. And finally, a nice cup waved to the audience. It could be a joke of bad taste, with regard to the XV of France (as opposed to Saturday, November 10, to South Africa) and his defeat on the chain. This scene still exists, but for young French U-20 world champions: final won in Beziers in June, against England.
Five of them are now preparing for Tonga as holders, for their first match with the selection of "Barbarians", the reserve team of the XV of France. Aligned ex officio, at the Chaban-Delmas de Bordeaux stadium, this Saturday (from 4 pm): Jordan Joseph Racingman, Toulon Louis Carbonel, Toulousain Roman Ntamack, Lyonnais Pierre-Louis Barassi and Agen Clément Laporte. A sixth, Jean-Baptiste Gros (also Toulon), is starting to replace.
"I do not take my head too muchsays Laporte, after the rainy training on Tuesday morning, about the facilities of the Rugby Club decks Arcachon. We will all try to play our card on Saturday without changing the brains. "In the youth categories we send a lot more games, there is a lot more movement, more madness"says the winger (or back). Way to say that it will take time to adapt to international adult rugby, "To keep the game a bit more closed".
The World Cup of 2019? "A little early for us"
In less than a year, the national team of Tonga will face the XV of France during the 2019 World Cup, the next big deadline. "I think it will be a bit early for us"Romain Ntamack protested on behalf of his little comrades. The son of Emile, former international, is projected earlier in the 2023 edition in France. He is 24 years old. "It's still more in our chords"gives the young, sometimes more open, sometimes three-quarters.
In the meantime, Ntamack Junior tackles this match against Tonga "With almost zero pressure". If that is not the case, he goes on with what he started with the Toulouse stadium, where he has just signed a first three-year professional contract. Since the start of the season, the young man has already played six of the nine games in the Top 14, the championship of France. All the equivalent of his total throughout the previous season.
Without ever having played a whole match, Jordan Joseph has five races with Racing in the league and one in the European Cup. "In the short term, I have the goal to play in Top 14. Otherwise agrees with the third line, hard to hope to make the World Cup 2019 or 2023 … " A logical answer for the young man, who has already followed media training at his club. What did he keep? subject & # 39; Staff & # 39; ! "
Play, play, play still. More or less obvious, according to the competition from recruits from everywhere. For Ugo Mola, the occasional Barbarians trainer and the usual Stade Toulousain, "One of the keys to French rugby is to expose our young players and give them playing time." Otherwise, the promises of this 2018 Blues remain at the stage of disappointed expectations. As for the world champion generation under 21, in 2006, despite the Guirado, Médard, Mermoz …
There is something else, Ugo Mola insists. Regardless of the talent, regardless of the quality of the training, as long as French professional rugby exhausts the players ("Eleven months out of twelve")… Pessimistic warning: "We can shoot as we want, our championship is currently at odds with international rugby and what we want to do."
Far from these considerations, Clément Laporte appreciated the beginning "Very relaxed" of the meeting. The spirit of the Barbarians, we must believe. The same one you can help on Tuesday morning, forty minutes late on the schedule. "One night we also had a few beers at the hotel, a very nice evening, in the club it happens to us, but sooner after the game, less at the beginning of the week …» The young people stay in the Haïtza hotel, in Pyla-sur-Mer. It is William Téchoueyres who should be happy: the establishment is held by the former rugby player, always in the vicinity of Bernard Laporte, president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR).
On Saturday, November 17, the six Blueberries "Baba & # 39; s" will find all their other former teammates in June. On the initiative of the FFR, they will participate in the test competition of France against the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq (North), Argentina. The occasion may be to cheer the great debut of Demba Bamba, Brive's column, reservists Saturday against South Africa, as the only one of those Blueberries to train with the XV of France.