France pick Baby Boks champion

Former SA U20 lock Paul Willemse has been called up to the French squad chosen for the opening two rounds of the 2019 Six Nations Championship.

France coach Jacques Brunel named two South Africans in the 31-man squad, Willemse joining 32-Test veteran flanker Bernard le Roux, who joined Racing Metro from Boland in 2009.

One of five uncapped players selected, Willemse, 26, qualifies for les bleus having acquired a French passport in November. The former Bulls bruiser left South Africa in 2014 and, after a one-season stay at Grenoble, moved to Montpellier where he has become a mainstay of a powerful tight five.

Willemse was a member of the 2012 Baby Boks team that clinched the Junior World Championship, a feat matched last year by a fellow newcomer to the French squad, Romain Ntamack, son of 46-Test France centre Emile.

The three remaining Test rookies are Thomas Ramos, Dorian Aldegheri and Gregory Alldritt.

France will kick off this year’s Six Nations tournament when they host Wales in Paris on 1 February.

— Staff Writer

- All Out Rugby Staff Writer

Let's chat

  • Barry

    He should be congratulated on achieving National status!

    A pitty it’s not for SA, but to be pragmatic, there’s at least five other locks ahead of him in SA currently, so his chances of donning the Green& Gold were pretty slim anyway!

    • SweetAz

      Did you watch that highlights reel? I don’t think there are any locks better than him playing in SA presently, when last did you see a Bok lock score the kind of tries we just saw in that highlights reel?. The AB’s team is full of previous National U20 players, South Africa donates them to other countries,-something very wrong with that picture.

      • Chris

        That’s a 4 year highlights reel. The sports agents also tend not to put your all F-ups in there.
        PSDT, EE, RGS, etc. all have pretty impressive highlights on youtube.

        My cousin just finished up a 13 year rugby career in France after spending a whole season on the Stormers bench where he would have stayed for years racking up very little game time.
        There’s benefits to SA rugby of guys going to EU and getting match time and lots of experience compared to staying in SA and playing Currie cup.

        • SweetAz

          Fair enough Chris and I agree with you to a certain extent, – my point is this guy was part of the National Age group team that actually won something. So he’s a tier or two above the general run of the mill player who may have played Craven Week and then jets off to France. That same year 2012 produced Dillyn Leyds, Steven Kitshoff, Peter Steff Du Toit, Raymond Rhule and Jan Serfontein, Handre Pollard—-All Springboks coming into their prime now.
          Now take a look at this list, all players who should be playing Super Rugby or available for South Africa,—they were all good enough to play for the Boks U20.

          A lot of them are just gone,—where to?

      • Barry

        It is what is Sweet, we just need to try and avoid melt down every time an ex SA player comes good internationally. At least there’s employment out there for our chaps.

        If an SA manager is appointed CEO of an international business, we say we’ll done, but if it’s a sportsman, then it’s all doom and gloom!

        Yes, he can play a bit, but those were club games,, so let’s see if he can carry it at International level?

  • Nick

    Big. Unfit. slow. would never be a Bok.

    • Chris

      He actually reminds me of Willem Alberts.
      We have enough mobile forwards around to cover for his size handicap.

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