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Jalibert hopes Farrell influence will make him a Test regular for France

The 19-year-old could feature for France in their Six Nations opener against Ireland.

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

Bordeaux Begles fly-half Jalibert has been catapulted into the France squad by new boss Jacques Brunel, and could now make his Test debut in the NatWest 6 Nations.

Les Bleus will host Ireland at the Stade de France on Saturday, with visiting coach Joe Schmidt having admitted it is tough to gauge new boss 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 obviously (New Zealand fly-half) Beauden Barrett, but Owen is someone who I ardently follow, I analyse a lot of his videos.

“I love watching him play because I find him super elegant. He is also really 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 across the last year, but insisted he will be ready for Test match action if called upon.

When quizzed on his sudden elevation, 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 that 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.

“Even though I had already been to Marcoussis with the Under-20s squad and I know Jacques (Brunel) and the players from Bordeaux Begles, this is a new experience for 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 is imperative that I am 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.”


From Belfast Telegraph