TOULON, FRANCE (AFP) – Charles Ollivon, named captain of the French national rugby team on Wednesday, “is not a miracle worker” but “someone who works hard”, his club coach said on Thursday.
“When I arrived 18 months ago, he was someone I had thought of for the captaincy,” said Patrice Collazo, who coaches resurgent Toulon in the Top 14.
“And I wasn’t the only one who had noticed his qualities.”
France coach Fabien Galthie, who chose Ollivon as his captain on Wednesday, was Collazo’s predecessor at Toulon.
Galthie explained that he had chosen the Basque for “the way he handles himself on a daily basis” and because the back row has “not always had an easy route”.
Ollivon made his France debut in 2014 but suffered three shoulder blade fractures in 2017 and 2018.
He made his return for Toulon in the spring of 2019 and was recalled to the France team in the run up to the World Cup.
He began the competition on the bench but started the last tree matches.
“I’m happy for the player,” said Collazo. “He’s someone who works hard and has a lot of determination and conviction.”
Ollivon has never been captain at club level, neither at Bayonne, where he made his professional debut in 2013, nor at Toulon.
“The advantage with him is that he’s going to stay himself and that’s the most important thing. It’s not going to change him. He’s someone who’s fairly composed and thoughtful and who knows how to analyse things very well,” said Collazo.
Asked if the captaincy would make Ollivon grow, Collazo said, “I don’t think so….he’s already 1.99m tall!”