South Africa: Charles Ollivon, or the revival of a former captain of the XV of France

Charles Ollivon is not a blue in the Blues. International since 2014, selected twenty-five times, the 29-year-old third-row is one of the “old-timers” of the France group. However, he admits having had ” chills “ when entering the lawn of the Stade de France, November 5, to face – and beat (30-29) – Australia. There could be others, Saturday November 12 at 9 p.m., at the Vélodrome stadium in Marseille, before scrapping against South Africa, the reigning world champion.

If the fireworks, the play of light and the music accompanying the exit of the locker rooms are enough to thrill a rugby player of 1.99 meters and 114 kilos, they do not explain all of the emotion of Charles Ollivon. Victim of a rupture of the cruciate ligaments of the left knee in June 2021, the Toulonnais made, in Saint-Denis (Seine-Seine-Denis), a remarkable return to the XV of France “premium”. Away from the field until March, he did not find the Blues until the following summer, during a tour of Japan where the coach, Fabien Galthié, had invited a number of second knives to leave his finest blades at rest.

Read also: Rugby: at the end of the suspense, the Blues succeed in their comeback against Australia

“Le Grand Charles” thus only participated on the margins in the perfect period for the Blues, a series – in progress – of eleven successes. Above all, it is by far that he attended, in March, the Grand Slam, the first trophy of the French for twelve years. “He preferred to take a step back. He regularly took news during the Tournament, but it was hard for him to interfere in it while the guys are going through something huge, “ says winger Gabin Villière, his selection and club partner.

“To make the crossover is the most complicated thing”

Passed right next to glory, Charles Ollivon also lost the captaincy of the France team, entrusted to Antoine Dupont. And during the current autumn tour, the rugby player, who has fallen in the hierarchy of the third tricolor line, owes above all his place in the starting XV to the absence due to injury of François Cros, who chained the matches and victories with his friends Grégory Alldritt and Anthony Jelonch. Especially since one year before the World Cup in France, Fabien Galthié seems less and less inclined to modify his standard team. Against South Africa, the coach also renewed the holders of the match against Australia.

While his partners in the France team were reaping laurels, Charles Ollivon worked, and worked hard. “To cross paths is the most complicated thingsays Gabin Villière. But Charles had great mental strength and worked hard to get back to the top level as quickly as possible. He never gave up. »

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