Ollivon to lead France on summer Tour of Japan

Charles Ollivon 20/3/2021
Charles Ollivon will captain France on their summer tour of Japan as he continues his return to the international stage.

Charles Ollivon will captain France on their summer tour of Japan as he continues his return to the international stage.

The back-rower took on the captaincy of Les Bleus in 2020 under Fabien Galthié, but then spent the best part of a year on the sidelines after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament at the end of last season.

He made his return to club action during the 2022 Guinness Six Nations and then led the Barbarians in their 52-21 win over England at Twickenham on Sunday.

And with Antoine Dupont, who captained France to the Grand Slam, rested for the trip to Japan, Ollivon will return to his former role.

France manager Raphaël Ibañez said: “To be captain of a tour is a special role, particularly with a squad of 42 players like this. It demands a lot of attention on the squad, energy, a willingness to bring your friends with you on a human and sporting adventure for three weeks, to bring them together to perform. We believe that Charles has all these qualities. He accepted the mission and we have confidence in him.”

Galthié has included 17 uncapped players in his squad for the tour, including a quartet of players who are still eligible for the Under-20s.

Racing 92 scrum-half Nolann Le Garrec is one of those, having impressed off the bench for the Barbarians, while Bayonne prop Matis Perchaud is the youngest player in the squad at 19.

While a number of senior players are being rested, there are still plenty of Grand Slam champions involved, including star winger Damian Penaud and goal-kicking full-back Melvyn Jaminet.

Of the other uncapped players, La Rochelle flanker Matthias Haddad, part of France’s Under-20s World Cup-winning side in 2019, could be in line for his debut.

France squad for the summer tour:

Forwards: Jean-Baptiste Gros (Toulon), Dany Priso (La Rochelle), Matis Perchaud (Bayonne), Demba Bamba (Lyon), Sipili Falatea (Clermont), Thomas Laclayat (Oyonnax), Dorian Aldegheri (Toulouse), Pierre Bourgarit (La Rochelle), Péato Mauvaka (Toulouse), Christopher Tolofua (Toulon), Thibaud Flament (Toulouse), Thomas Lavault (La Rochelle), Swan Rebbadj (Toulon), Rémi Picquette (La Rochelle), Thomas Jolmes (UBB), Charles Ollivon (Toulon) (c), Ibrahim Diallo (Racing 92), Yoan Tanga (Racing 92), Selevasio Tolofua (Toulouse), Dylan Cretin (Lyon), Sékou Macalou (Stade Français), Bastien Vergnes-Taillefer (UBB), Matthias Haddad-Victor (La Rochelle)

Backs: Baptiste Couilloud (Lyon), Nolann Le Garrec (Racing 92), Maxime Lucu (UBB), Antoine Hastoy (Pau), Louis Carbonel (Toulon), Matthieu Jalibert (UBB), Yoram Moefana (UBB), Tani Vili (Clermont), Virimi Vakatawa (Racing 92), Louis Le Brun (Castres), Enzo Reybier (Oyonnax), Rémy Baget (Bayonne), Matthis Lebel (Toulouse), Damian Penaud (Clermont), Jules Favre (La Rochelle), Aymeric Luc (Toulon), Max Spring (Racing 92), Melvyn Jaminet (Perpignan), Romain Buros (UBB).