Julien Marchand on the front line

Julien Marchand, in Nice, January 24.
Julien Marchand, in Nice, January 24. VALERY HACHE / AFP

Sometimes it's just a story of height chart. And for a few centimeters less, you find yourself in the front line, your neck outstretched, waiting for the train that will pass over you. Too much stocky, "And probably not enough lungs " to hope to break into the highest level in his third line position, this is how Julien Marchand explains having become a hooker. Which succeeds rather well. At 24, the captain of the Stade Toulouse will chain, Sunday, February 9, his second tenure in the front row of the XV of France believed Fabien Galthié, after the inaugural victory of the Blues against England (24-17).

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A position he did not take up until late adolescence. "When he entered the hope pole (From toulouse), Julien was a physically, athletically, rugby dominating boy ", remembers Sébastien Piqueronies. While a coach in the Pink City, the technician is now the manager of the young French teams, after winning two World Cups in succession at the head of the under-20s (2018 and 2019). “He played third line, liked to carry the ball, but loved contact, and he liked to tackle. " Seeing in the young man "A natural leader" with "An ability to dominate the fight", the technician suggests that he settle in at the hooker position. A change of position involving work on two technical aspects of the game: scrum and touch.

"Today, thanks to the scrum, you can reverse the trend of a match," said the number 2 of the Blues

"Today, thanks to the scrum, you can reverse the trend of a match", points out number 2 of the Blues. A very supervised exercise that leaves you on the kneecaps. "It has become a routine, but it is hard and it stings, He confesses. Sometimes you come out with your head spinning. You pushed so hard, gave everything you could give … And you have to keep going, so quickly get your ideas back. " The keystone of the fray, the shoulders tied with its pillars, the second lines welded behind its back, the hooker must set the pace.

Injury and frustrations

Because Julien Marchand is a leader. You just have to see him greet everyone around the facilities of the Pink City club, slap the wind on the right, "check" the little kids from the club who have come to train on the left, and get news from everyone. Said to himself " surprised " to have had his name tipped for the captaincy of the Blues before the appointment of Charles Ollivon by Fabien Galthié. "I had no legitimacy to have this role, I made very few minutes in the France team, not even a full match in terms of playing time." Since then, the Toulouse captain has disputed the game won against the English, and will do it again Sunday against Italy; his first two tenure under the jersey struck by the rooster, thanks to the calf injury of his Racing 92 counterpart, Camille Chat, during the preparation of the tournament.


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