Matthieu Jalibert will start at flyhalf for France in the Six Nations this weekend. Photo: Michel Euler/AP

CAPE TOWN – Teenager Matthieu Jalibert will start at flyhalf for France in their Six Nations opener against Ireland on Saturday.

Yes, a teenager, a 19-year-old, will start an international match in one of the most competitive rugby competitions in the world against one of the tournament favourites.

He will make his international debut at Stade de France only three months after starting his first Top 14 match with Bordeaux Beglés.

Now it doesn’t matter if his starting berth is possibly the sum of injuries or unavailability of a more experienced No 10 for whatever reason.

It doesn’t matter if he’s paired with experience. There are always options, and French coach Jacques Brunel chose this one.

But why should his selection even be news? I guess it’s news to us because in South Africa, we don’t see that.

In South African rugby, experience talks, and it’s probably safe to say that you won’t see a 19-year-old running out to start in this crucial position.

It might be on a smaller scale, but the fact that Stormers boss Robbie Fleck has shown that he’s not afraid to back youngsters is an example that we need.

So, I hope that young Jalibert does well this weekend, I really do.

Because I can’t deal with the “Ja, that’s what happens when you play an inexperienced flyhalf” comments if he doesn’t...

 

Cape Times