Six Nations

France captain backs global calendar 'for the good of rugby'

Charles Ollivon of France looks dejected following his side's Six Nations defeat against Scotland at Murrayfield on 8 March 2020 (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Charles Ollivon of France looks dejected following his side's Six Nations defeat against Scotland at Murrayfield on 8 March 2020 (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
David Rogers

France captain Charles Ollivon has supported the idea of a global calendar as it will benefit the sport at Test level but questioned its positives domestically.

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World Rugby chairperson Bill Beaumont said in May that plans about aligning fixtures in both the northern and southern hemispheres were under way.

Discussions about its impact on sides in leagues such as Ollivon's Toulon in the French Top 14 are also ongoing.

"I've seen what's been proposed, the Six Nations moved, no more summer tours... If things are working in that direction it's for the good of French rugby and us, the players," he told AFP in an interview.

"I don't know how it will work for the clubs. It's hard to talk about because we don't know what's going to happen. I think that it's all being done for the good of rugby so why not," the 27-year-old added.

Last weekend Ollivon's Les Bleus team-mate Jefferson Poirot retired from Test rugby because of a lack of motivation after losing October's World Cup quarter-final.

Poirot, also 27, was his country's most used prop since 2016 and captained the side during last year's tournament.

"I respect his choice. Playing for France necessitates the maximum energy. It's the international level, you have to give everything. You can't be there at 99 percent," Ollivon said.

"I hope I can wear the blue shirt with Jeff again. It's a dream to be able to continue to play as long as possible for France because it's the highest level and I savour it so much."

'Holy Grail'

Ollivon was named France skipper for this year's Six Nations despite Poirot being one of the favourites to be appointed.

But the back-rower has not been confirmed as the skipper for the coming months by head coach Fabien Galthie.

"France is a bit like the Holy Grail. For me it was a moment of immense pride to be captain. Afterwards, I jumped into the job quite quickly," Ollivon said.

"People briefed me a bit about the pressure and what it could create, all that could happen afterwards. Things happened naturally, with a lot of transparency. I haven't changed."

France beat World Cup losing finalists England, Italy and Wales and lost at Scotland before this season's Six Nations was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ollivon's men can still claim a first championship trophy since 2010 but have to beat Ireland in a re-scheduled match set for October and hope other results go their way.

"It's true we had a good dynamic, with three wins out of four and still with the desire, the possibility, to win the Six Nations," he said.

"It's useless to look back, you have to focus on what you can control. We've managed to adapt to what has happened in front of us. But, on the other hand, no one has forgotten and we hope to play this match and finish the Six Nations."

READ | Rugby edging closer to new global calendar and Test window shake-up

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