What’s at stake for UBB players for the fall tour?

For the third time in a row, four players from Union Bordeaux-Bègles will be on the scoresheet for a match against the XV of France. Against Australia, on Saturday (21) at the Stade de France, Yoram Moefana will start on the wing, while Sipili Falatea, Maxime Lucu and Matthieu Jalibert will be on the bench.

After Australia, the Blues will face South Africa and Japan. Then the 2023 Tournament will come and, finally, the World Cup in France.
Less than a year from the start of the competition, the next matches are therefore decisive for the UBB Blues.

Moefana, to confirm

It is no coincidence that he is the only Union Bordeaux-Bègles player to play against Australia on Saturday. Yoram Moefana, who will celebrate his ninth selection, is very dynamic in the French team. A holder in five of the Blues’ last six games, Tournament and Summer Tour included, the Polynesian has established himself as Fabien Galthié’s best asset in the three-quarter line.

Yoram Moefana during the game against Japan on July 9th.
© AFP

CHARLY TRIBALLAU

If the owners of Fabien Galthié seem to be the Villière-Danty-Fickou-Penaud association, Moefana is systematically established when there is an absentee. Both on the wing, like this Saturday, given that Gabin Villière is absent, and in the center, where he had been excellent during the July games in Japan, with a test on the first test.

Lucu, to manage

Obviously, for the games that matter, Maxime Lucu will be the replacement for Antoine Dupont as scrum-half. It’s inevitable when you have the best player in the world and the new captain of the XV of France in your place. So the Basque, one of the leaders of the UBB will have to take up the challenge of showing himself by playing a few minutes, as he was able to do during the last Six Nations, where he played an average of seven minutes per game, all replacing Dupont.

Maxime Lucu in training with the Blues, during the tour in Japan, July 5th.
© AFP

CHARLY TRIBALLAU

More neutral during the two summer games against Japan, where he made his debut, Lucu must continue to do his part, more managerial at the end of the game, where he can bring different qualities. This is where he can maintain his lead over the third scrum-half on the list, Lyonnais Baptiste Couilloud, with a more Dupont-like profile.

Jalibert, stay

Warning, danger for Matthieu Jalibert. He too is the official replacement for a Tolosain, Romain Ntamack, especially after the latter’s capital performance during the historic victory of the Blues against the All Blacks,
last fall. A match in which Matthieu Jalibert came into play, before missing the Six Nations Tournament due to injury. Returning last summer and starting both games against Japan, UBB’s first half didn’t shine.

Matthieu Jalibert during the match against Japan on July 9th.
© AFP

CHARLY TRIBALLAU

So what’s its place? The idea of ​​associating him with Ntamack, tried a year ago (Bordeaux in 10 and Toulouse in the center), was not convincing, and Matthieu Jalibert found himself on the bench. This Saturday against Australia, he could return to the opening or rear position. Except that, in this 10-15, Jalibert is threatened by Thomas Ramos of Toulouse, who is making a great start to the season, where Jalibert has already known better.
If his place in Azzurro is not immediately threatened, his presence on the scoresheet, especially when Melvyn Jaminet returns, does not seem guaranteed.

Falatea, to frame yourself

His presence was the least expected in the standings this Saturday. But Sipili Falatea has visibly convinced the Blues staff during the last two weeks spent at Marcoussis. In the absence of long-time injured Demba Bamba, he was clearly, according to the staff, in the Top 3 of the right-wing pillars of the Blues. Today he is also number two, behind Uini Antonio, starting on Saturday, but ahead of Mohamed Haouas.

Sipili Falatea in training with the Blues before the match against Australia in July 2021.
© AFP

PATRICK HAMILTON

One year after the World Cup, where the Blues will bring three players to this position, seeing him overtake the Montpellier player is not trivial. If he keeps the lead, he might have a good card to play on the World Cup list.

The others, to be integrated

There were three other Union Bordeaux-Bègles players called with the XV of France to prepare this autumn tour,
all three were sent back to Bordeaux without being recalled last Monday. The second row Thomas Jolmes seems to be the best equipped to go back there. Yes, because he has more experience in Azzurro (two selections last July), and above all given the injury in his place of Paul Willemse.

In the middle, Pablo Uberti seems to go further, for this tour, but especially for the World Cup, in a position where Arthur Vincent is expected to return, and where he already seems to be behind Pierre-Louis Barassi of Toulouse. While on the third row, Bastien Vergnes-Taillefer unfortunately got injured, like Romain Buros, called up during the first list.

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