Saturday, September 30, 2023

Baptiste Couilloud: who is the scrum half of the XV of France?

No, Antoine Dupont is not the only scrum half of the XV of France. If the captain of the Blues, voted best player in the world in 2021, has become the icon of French rugby, other players in his position jostle to try to scratch playing time when “Toto” is sent to the bench. Among them, Baptiste Couilloud. In competition with Baptiste Serin and Maxime Lucu during the summer preparation, the Lyon player was finally retained, with Dupont and Lucu.

Who is Baptiste Couilloud?

Baptiste Couilloud is a pure product of Lyon. Born in Lyon, initiated to rugby in Lyon, trained in Lyon, student in Lyon… “Titout” as he is nicknamed has never left the capital of Gaul. Starting as an opening half, the now 26-year-old player moved into the fray during his last seasons in the young teams of LOU. It is also one of the icons of French rugby in this position, Pierre Mignoni, who made him discover the pro group, in 2015-2016, during his first season at the head of the Rhone club, in ProD2 . Couilloud plays three matches, the LOU is crowned champion of France. The young scrum-half gains playing time the following season in the Top 14, establishes himself as number 1 in his position and opens the doors to the XV of France.

Undermined by an ankle injury in the fall of 2018, Baptiste Couilloud will be halted in his meteoric rise. He finally quickly regained his level and his starting place at the end of the season and has not let go of his status since, even being regularly named club captain.

Baptiste Couilloud and the XV of France

Very soon after LOU’s return to the Top 14 and his installation as a starter in the Lyon scrum, Baptiste Couilloud was called up with the XV of France, taking advantage of an injury to Antoine Dupont to play in the 2018 Six Nations Tournament. selections before waiting more than two years to find Marcoussis, on the occasion of the Autumn Nations Cup 2021. A competition where he was named captain in the final against England, lost in extra time.

Fabien Galthié then took him in his luggage for the tour of Australia the following summer, then called up for the autumn tour, without playing him, before selecting him for the matches in Japan the following summer, passing of his services during the 2022 Tournament. Summoned for the 2023 edition, he remained on the bench twice without returning.

If at this stage he only has around ten selections with the XV of France, Baptiste Couilloud has managed to impose himself with Fabien Galthié, who has made numerous tests in this position in recent months behind Dupont and Lucu (Serin, Le Garrec, Coly).

What role for Baptiste Couilloud during the World Cup?

Lyon’s scrum half should only be content with a few minutes during the competition. Antoine Dupont, named captain, is the number 1 in the position and will be the indisputable holder. Behind, Maxime Lucu seems to be the preferred replacement. Baptiste Couilloud could grab playing time against Uruguay and/or Namibia. Unless a cataclysm shakes up the hierarchy.


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