Scotland v France: Stand-in stand-off Matthieu Jalibert is a ‘real threat’, warns Gregor Townsend
France lost their gifted stand-off Romain Ntamack to injury earlier this week but Scotland coach Gregor Townsend is alert to the threat posed by Matthieu Jalibert, the man who will replace him in the No 10 jersey at Murrayfield on Sunday.
Jalibert was a callow teenager when he was first called into the French squad for the 2018 Six Nations. Still only 22, the fly-half has matured and impressed Townsend during the Six Nations match in Edinburgh in March when he replaced Ntamack in the early stages.
He also delivered a notable performance for Bordeaux-Begles in their European Challenge Cup semi-final win over Edinburgh in September.
“He has been playing well for Bordeaux and did really well against Edinburgh,” said Townsend ahead of the Autuman Nations Cup clash. “He did well in attack against us in March in a couple of breaks.
“He has a step, a kicking game, he is part of a youthful French team that plays without fear so we feel he is a real threat in terms of how we attack. We want to make sure that opposition tens have to make tackles. He has not played much for France in the past but I see him having a long career with them in the future.”
He has started just once before for the national team, on his debut against Ireland in 2018, but his involvement was cut short by injury. His four other caps have come from the bench and he has found himself eclipsed somewhat by the rise of Ntamack who is six months his junior.
He is one of eight changes from the France team that beat Ireland in the Six Nations last month.
Like Scotland, the French have changed their entire front row, with Jean-Baptiste Gros, Camille Chat and Demba Bamba starting in place of Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand and Mohamed Haouas.
Thomas Ramos comes in for the injured Anthony Bouthier at full-back; Dylan Cretin replaces Francois Cros at lock and Gael Fickou moves from wing to centre to accommodate the returning Teddy Thomas, who scored two tries against Scotland at Murrayfield in 2018 but still ended up on the losing side.
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