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Farrell an influence on Les Bleus fledgling Jalibert

By Nick Purewal

France's teen sensation Matthieu Jalibert has hailed England's Owen Farrell as the greatest influence on his burgeoning playing style.

Bordeaux fly-half Jalibert has been catapulted into the France squad by new boss Jacques Brunel, and could now make his Test debut in the Six Nations.

Les Bleus will host Ireland at the Stade de France on Saturday, with visiting coach Joe Schmidt admitting it is tough to gauge Brunel's fresh approach.

Bordeaux's 19-year-old rookie Jalibert could yet take the rudder at fly-half, and has admitted he bases much of his game on Saracens, England and British and Irish Lions star Farrell.

Asked to cite his role model as a fly-half, Jalibert replied: "Owen Farrell, I hope to have the opportunity to play against him.

"After him there is (New Zealand fly-half) Beauden Barrett, but Owen is someone I ardently follow, I analyse his videos.

"I love watching him play because I find him elegant. He is also solid defensively. That is a real plus at international level."

France Under-20s graduate Jalibert has admitted he has struggled to comprehend his meteoric rise, but insisted he will be ready for Test match action if called upon.

Jalibert said: "It is a little hard to get a grasp of. This year is going really fast, everything is happening to me at lightning speed.

"I am also taking a step back to try and assess what has happened, I know nothing is set in stone and it is up to me to carry on working so that it continues.

"I know I have had an enormous opportunity to be here. It is for me to prove to Jacques and the coaching staff that they were correct in selecting me.

"There was a little apprehension at the moment of coming to Marcoussis and to meet new players. However, those of us fresh to the squad were integrated well. It is a huge pride I feel, I am very honoured to work with this group.

"I feel ready for this challenge though. It's imperative I'm ready.

"I try not to think about it too much, I am preparing for this match calmly and without placing too much pressure on myself. We will see if Jacques decides to put me in the match day squad."

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