Full-back Melvyn Jaminet, 21 and promoted to Top 14 with Perpignan at the end of the season, will wear the N.15. A second division player with the Blues? It is rare thing. The latest case is that of right pillar Demba Bamba – holder on Wednesday – who made his first international steps in 2018 against Fiji while playing in Brive.
Against Australia, the other titular neophyte played in Top 14 this season. It is the Castresian Gaëtan Barlot (24 years old), who takes advantage of a shortage in the position of hooker.
Five other novices appear on the bench according to the composition unveiled by Galthié during the general assembly of the French Rugby Federation (FFR), in duplex from Australia.
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They are Racing 92 scrum half Teddy Iribaren, Toulon hooker Anthony Etrillard, Castres second row Florent Vanverberghe, as well as pillars Sipili Falatea (Clermont) and Quentin Walcker (Perpignan / Pro D2).
“The players have everything to gain. This is the opportunity for many to assert themselves, to reveal themselves, and to take a place in the wagon of the XV of France two and a half years before the World Cup“in France, tweeted Galthié, thrifty in words during the GA.
The coach especially underlined the average age (24 years) and selections (6) of this young team, brought to challenge the double world champions (1991, 1999), in search of redemption after a disappointing 2019 World Cup (quarter-finalist), for this first test of a series of three.
– Bamba back –
The third line of Castres – and future Toulousain – Anthony Jelonch will be captain in the absence of Charles Ollivon, injured in a knee and unavailable for many months. The hinge will be made up of Lyon scrum half Baptiste Couilloud and Toulon opener Louis Carbonel. The winger Teddy Thomas, usually holder, is not selected. The wings are occupied by its competitors Gabin Villière (Toulon) and Damian Penaud (Clermont).
The most capped player is Toulon second row Romain Taofifenua (30), with 25 caps. The right pillar Bamba, number 2 in the hierarchy behind Mohamed Haouas (arranged for the tour), is making his comeback. Several times injured this season, he has not worn the blue jersey since November 22 and a victory in Scotland (22-15) in the Autumn Nations Cup.
– Quarantine complicates preparation –
The XV of France left on tour in Australia with a group of 42 players, reduced to 41 after the affair of the forgotten passport of Alexandre Fischer. This contingent is deprived of many executives, left to rest (Jalibert, Vakatawa …) or injured (Ollivon, Fickou …), as well as Toulouse (Ntamack, Dupont …) and Rochelais (Alldritt, Dulin .. .), Top 14 finalists.
In Australia, the Blues observe a strict 14-day quarantine imposed by local authorities on anyone arriving from abroad. They can only leave their hotel to go to a training ground, 40 minutes away by bus.
The Australian Federation “did his best to accommodate us, but on the rugby side, there is no doubt that it affected our preparation“, said general manager Raphaël Ibanez.
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After this first test, the Blues will face the Wallabies two more times, July 13 in Melbourne and July 17 in Brisbane.
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