Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Big Basta à Big Apple: a Frenchman in New York

With Mathieu Bastareaud (along with Morgan Parra) omitted from France's 37 man training squad for the Rugby World Cup in Japan this year, his decision to try his hand in Major League Rugby with  Rugby United New York may well end up being a longer-term move than first anticipated.

I have to say I am surprised that Jacques Brunel chose to omit Bastareaud. I do think it's the correct call if France want attacking fluidity in their midfield, but Brunel's tendency so far has been to rely on Bastareaud's bulk, solidity and breakdown nous at the expense of speed and creativity, so his non-selection is a little unexpected.

It had been anticipated that Bastareaud's move to New York - where he will team up with the likes of Ben Foden - was to be something of a sabbatical from the weekly grind of the French Top 14 but now, who knows, with his French international career possibly coming to a conclusion, the 30 year old may yet see MLR as his long term future?

POSTSCRIPT Wed 19 June 2019 - "LA PAGE BLEUE SE TOURNE" - the clairvoyant powers of Total Flanker know no bounds as Monsieur Bastareaud today announced his retirement from international rugby. Sometimes I just impress myself...

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