shift Thomas Ramos, favor a professional 10… What options to replace Matthieu Jalibert at the opening in Cardiff?

The French XV travels to Wales on Sunday without its opener Matthieu Jalibert, who was injured in the knee during the draw conceded against Italy.

France Télévisions – Sports Editorial


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Rather a fan of continuity, Fabien Galthié will, this time, have to make a change. For its fourth match of the Six Nations Tournament in Cardiff, Sunday March 10, the French XV will be without its starting fly half since the start of the competition, Matthieu Jalibert.

Exited with an injury in the first period against Italy (13-13 draw), the Bordelo-Béglais is injured in the internal ligament of his left knee, and will be away from the field for several weeks. A package which is added to that of the usual holder, Romain Ntamack, operated on to rupture the cruciate ligament of the knee before the World Cup, and who should make his return to the field in March.

To compensate for this absence, the French staff, who had chosen at the start of the Tournament to do without a professional 10 on the bench, have several options, each with their advantages and limitations.

Repeat the Thomas Ramos experience

Against Italy, it was Thomas Ramos who took over at the opening after Matthieu Jalibert limped off the pitch, and who therefore played more than one half alongside Maxime Lucu at the hinge. I think that, in the strategy, the composition of Fabien Galthié and his staff, the idea of ​​making a 6-2 bench, is that they were counting on Thomas Ramos to cover the 10 position., assures Damien Traille, former international who notably played in this position. Over this period of time, he scored the only three points scored by the Blues after returning from the locker room.

Sunday afternoon, during the third day of the Six Nations Tournament, Italy achieved a memorable feat by grabbing a draw against the French XV in Villeneuve d'Ascq.  This result is disappointing for Christophe Galtié's players who are now fourth in the standings.

Six Nations: a disappointing result for the French XV

Sunday afternoon, during the third day of the Six Nations Tournament, Italy achieved a memorable feat by grabbing a draw against the French XV in Villeneuve d’Ascq. This result is disappointing for Christophe Galtié’s players who are now fourth in the standings.

If he is today the reference player of the Blues at the back, and does not yet have any international start at the opening, Thomas Ramos has already played with the number 10 at club (20% of all his matches in career according to Allrugby). For Damien Traille, he “today experience in the French team and a versatility which allows him to assume this role”.

But this option does not come without questioning. The game at post 10 and post 15 “not related to”continues Damien Traille, who has played in both positions. “In 10, we are still the guarantor of the game. It’s a lot more communication with our scrum half, offensive animation, game management […] Being at the back, there is more time for reflection, while at the opener position everything comes together quickly”, he specifies. Above all, the shift of Thomas Ramos would imply other adjustments, to replace him at the back. “That would mean changing 10, center [avec la suspension de Jonathan Danty] and back, while we have lost all the automatisms a little over the last three matches”summarizes Damien Traille.

Launch a new face or relaunch Hastoy?

The other option consists of relying on a trade opening half, which would limit upheavals in the composition. In this case, we keep a somewhat stable framework and we only replace the 10 and the centerdeciphers Damien Traille. The coach can start with the players he has chosen to replace him: Antoine Gibert, Léo Barré.”

In the first group called to prepare for the Tournament, in January, was the opening half of Racing 92, never capped, alongside his teammate Nolann Le Garrec. Parisian Léo Barré was called up for a day at the end of January, then to prepare for the match against Italy. Both players are present in the group.

“Do we go for a 10 who has no or almost no selection, or do we take someone who has a little experience, which could be better given the current state of the things ?”

Damien Traille, former player of the XV of France

at franceinfo: sport

To prepare for the meeting in Wales, the staff of the XV of France had also decided to recall Antoine Hastoy, Matthieu Jalibert’s understudy at the World Cup but not requested since the start of the competition. “I think he paid a little for the poor start to the season at Stade Rochelais, but he is still a key element who knows the playing system”says Damien Traille.

The Rochelais is the most experienced of the three players mentioned (5 selections), and has already played in the blue jersey with Maxime Lucu at the hinge, during the second match at the World Cup against Uruguay, concluded with a sluggish victory ( 27-12). But he was released to his club on Wednesday evening and will not be traveling to Cardiff.

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