Selection of foreign players at the heart of the Posolo Tuilagi chaos

What will the first post-World Cup French rugby team look like? Three months later Blues’ brutal home exitFacing South Africa in the quarter-finals, Fabien Galthié is preparing to start a new cycle to carry the French team to the 2027 World Cup to be held in Australia. On Wednesday, January 17, the French coach will announce the first list of thirty-four players who will be ready for the first match of the Six Nations Tournament against Ireland in Marseille on February 2.

Already some certainties: Antoine Dupont will not be a part of it. The usual captain of the French XV, this year he favors rugby sevens and his pursuit of a medal at the Paris Olympic Games. His friend is at the Toulouse Stadium and at the election Romain Ntamack will also be missedThe fly-half is still recovering from the knee injury that ruled him out of the World Cup.

Fabien Galthié’s first list should therefore give pride of place to the team’s managers as well as to several youngsters who shone in the early days of the French championship. Old scrum half likes it“UFOs” As he liked to repeat during his first four years in office, at the end of 2023 he was able to observe something very beautiful in the person of Posolo Tuilagi.

It is the last city of the second lineage of Perpignan, who was born in Samoa at the age of 19.A family of famous rugby players : His brother, cousins ​​and uncles mostly played professional football, and his father Henry Tuilagi also brought happiness to the Catalan club from 2007 to 2015. But even within such a lineage, Posolo’s physique stands out and explains why. He is used very often in his team’s offensive line: 145 kilos and 1.92 meters!

He became the under-20 world champion with Bleuets in the summer of 2023The giant player, who studied at USAP, where he received his first license in 2010, was able to quickly make the first team of the selection, despite his little experience (only twenty-four matches were played in the Top 14). The truth is that his case has been the subject of confusion in recent days.

“It was just one man’s decision.”

According to World Rugby (international federation) rules, a player has the right to defend a country’s colors if he has resided there for sixty consecutive months. The same is true for Posolo Tuilagi, but a situation specific to France has caused confusion. During his years as president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR), Bernard Laporte (from 2016 to 2023) made obtaining a passport a mandatory condition to qualify for the French XV.

“There’s no law about this. It was just one person’s decision and it wasn’t even approved by the board.”Jean-Marc Lhermet, vice president of the FFR since the appointment of Florian Grill in 2023, responded on Friday: rugbyrama. To be honest, we thought it was, but it’s not like that at all. So there was nothing that forced us to move in this direction. »

In the evening, the FFR hastened to issue a press release to clarify the status of the second line. “An orientation under the chairmanship of Bernard Laporte (have) This regulation was adopted to limit the selection of foreign players unless they hold a French passport, although the process of selecting a player continues to be determined solely by World Rugby rules. »

There is no guarantee that the available Posolo Tuilagi will make his debut for the Blues on February 2, or even appear on Fabien Galthié’s list of thirty-four players. “ Just because he’s available doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll play. Simply put, if Fabien Galthié wants to keep him in line, he can do it.”confirmed Jean-Marc Lhermet.

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Like many players, those in second place will definitely follow the announcement of the list on January 17 with interest. If he can find a place there, taking advantage of the foot injury of his usual owner Thibaud Flament, he will first of all have to face another strong opponent: Emmanuel Meafou (2.03 m, 145 kilos). The Toulouse native, who was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, also plans to play his first minutes with the France team during the Six Nations Tournament.

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