France have a new captain
NEWS: Scrumhalf Baptiste Serin will replace Charles Ollivon as France captain against Italy, the French Rugby Federation (FFR) announced on Monday.
Under an agreement between the French league clubs and the FFR, players are limited to three internationals this end-of-year series and flank Ollivon, the captain since the arrival of Fabien Galthie earlier this year as head coach, has played his quota.
Serin will only be captain of the French national team for a single match because he has already played in the victories over Wales and Ireland.
Ollivon’s Toulon teammate takes over for France’s last match in the Nations Cup group phase.
“I have 100 percent confidence in you, you know that,” said Ollivon. “We’re going to ask a lot of you. Everyone is going to ask a lot of you.”
At 26 years old, Serin is one of the most experienced players in a squad that includes 16 uncapped players.
“Baptiste is playing in a pivotal position, with responsibilities taken on the pitch,” said team manager Raphael Ibanez. “It was felt that his experience and leadership in the field could help newcomers and youngsters. It seemed logical to us.”
“In this squad, there are players who are capped, others who are not. It’s a question of seizing the opportunity. We’re in a very special week, it’s going to go very quickly,” Ibanez, a former hooker who played 98 times for France, added.
While Serin has 38 caps, he has been in recent seasons the back-up to Antoine Dupont, starting only 14 times, the last time in October 2019 in the final group game at the last World Cup when France, already qualified for the quarterfinals, eked out a victory over Tonga.