Competitors for the position of opener of the XV of France, Matthieu Jalibert and Romain Ntamack were associated with the training this week in Marcoussis, the second sliding in the center to offer an alternative likely to be tested during the autumn tests.
Ntamack (22 years old, 20 caps) had seized the N.10 of the Blues during the 2019 World Cup in Japan and remained the holder at the post in the mind of coach Fabien Galthié until his double fracture of the jawbone last December.
Because Jalibert (22 years old, 12 sel.), After a conclusive interim in Blue in the absence of his rival, continued to gain strength with the UBB, so that the cards are reshuffled at the start of the season.
In Marcoussis, it was he who wore the blue chasuble of N.10 in the team of potential holders during the two collective training sessions open to the press on Tuesday and today.
Ntamack, he had the N.12 three-quarter center, a position he occasionally occupies at the Toulouse Stadium and where he played in the France Under-20 team during his world coronation in 2018.
“We are talking about it together, but for the moment, I do not know if there is something recorded or not,” said winger Matthis Lebel, his teammate in Toulouse, of “emulation” with Jalibert .
“We must get the best of these two players. Whether it is together or not together, it is not for me to decide,” added the neophyte in the France team.
The Toulouse stadium coach Ugo Mola had found him “a pity not to put them together more often on the ground” in the France team, when he was questioned on the subject in April before a semi-final of the Coupe d ‘ Europe won by his club against UBB.
So far, Jalibert and Ntamack have only shared a few minutes of play late in the game during the 2020 Six Nations Tournament in Wales (27-23 victory), when the Bordeaux player replaced winger Teddy Thomas.
But the opportunity to have several players on the field comfortable on foot can offer prospects, even more with the arrival this season of the new rule known as “50-22”. From now on, a team which hits the ball indirectly in touch in the opposing 22 meters, from its camp, recovers the benefit of the throw in touch.
The former Clermont opener Brock James, now in the staff of the Ospreys, also considered it interesting to associate the two players. “Matthew, he’s an X factor. You never know what he’s going to do. And I saw a lot of maturity in Ntamack’s game. I think they can play very well together,” he explained. in the spring in an interview with AFP.
“I think 10 and 12 would be very interesting, a bit like George Ford and Owen Farrell with England,” he added.
“The differences between them (Jalibert and Ntamack) are not fundamental,” said scrum half and neo-captain of the Blues Antoine Dupont yesterday at a press conference.
“I was lucky to be able to play with both, especially during Romain’s injury last season. They have quite similar profiles, very offensive, very playful. I obviously know Romain better since we play together in a club, but we also get along well with Matthieu, “continued the N.9 from Toulouse.
Before letting escape a possible indiscretion on the device of the XV of France on November 6 in Saint-Denis against Argentina: “Maybe if I play with Matthieu, Romain will not be very far either”.