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Ollivon: Everyone has 100 percent faith in Baptiste

Ollivon: Everyone has 100 percent faith in Baptiste

Ollivon: Everyone has 100 percent faith in Baptiste

Baptiste Serin will captain France in their Autumn Nations Cup clash with Italy on Saturday after Charles Ollivon handed him the baton during a stirring speech.

The Toulon scrum-half is taking over from Ollivon, who will no longer be able to play for Les Bleus this fall because of the agreement between the FFR and the clubs.

It was agreed that there would be a limit of three matches per player, meaning those who featured in the wins over Wales, Ireland and Scotland this autumn – like Ollivon – will not be available this weekend.

Should France defeat the Azzurri in Paris they will finish top of Group B and Serin, who was not selected for the trip to Scotland, will have the challenge of leading a young Les Bleus side.

But during a ceremony in which all of the France players were present, Ollivon symbolically transferred the captain’s armband to Serrin and delivered an emotional message.

Ollivon told the players: “I wanted you to be here with me. I want to look at you and tell you that this group is important to all of us. It’s important for us as men and as a team.

“I’m passing this to you and I have 100 percent faith in you. It’s important that everyone has 100% faith in Baptiste. We are going to ask a lot of you. Everyone, the players, the staff.

“Everyone needs to step up for him too.”

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Among the 31 players called up to prepare for the match against Italy, 26-year-old Serin is the most experienced with 38 caps having made his Les Bleus debut in 2016.

There are 16 uncapped players in the group and for Raphaël Ibanez, manager of the French team, Serin was the obvious choice to lead the young team against Italy.

Ibanez said: “Baptiste plays an important position with responsibility on the pitch.

“We also felt that his experience, his leadership, could help the young, new players, who will be involved this week, to step up and prepare for the match against Italy.”

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