France's Serin refuses to 'get worked up' about captaincy

Illtud DAFYDD
·2-min read

France scrum-half Baptiste Serin said on Friday he is remaining calm ahead of leading his country for the second time as they host Italy in the Autumn Nations Cup.

The 26-year-old's previous experience of leading les Bleus was as a seventh minute substitute in the 49-14 hammering away to New Zealand in 2018.

"I don't have a good memory of that because we conceded a lot of points, but we can't compare the two," Serin said.

"I've been able to think about what I want to say to the guys now. But obviously it's an honour and a proud moment. It's a role I enjoy. But I'm not getting too worked up about it," he added.

The Toulon half-back starts his first game since last year's Rugby World Cup and has played just 29 minutes in five matches as back-up to Antoine Dupont.

Serin, who takes over the captain's armband from flanker Charles Ollivon, made his Test debut in 2016 but has been behind the likes of Morgan Parra, Maxime Machenaud and now the in-form Dupont in the pecking order.

On Saturday, he will benefit from an agreement between the French Rugby Federation and the Top 14 league which stipulates a maximum of three appearances for each player during the end-of-year campaign.

"I've been involved in the France set up for a while and so it's not something that I mind, the opposite in fact," Serin said.

"The important thing is to know your role and where you stand in a team. I'm experienced so I try to show that.

"Some people know that I have some character. I dare to say what I think, which is important in my position," he added.

- 'Not opportune' -

Serin is the most experienced member of a matchday squad including 11 uncapped players who came together on Monday for the first time.

His side, coached by Fabien Galthie since the World Cup, can clinch a place in next weekend's Autumn Nations Cup final with at least a draw against the Azzurri on Saturday.

"I knew the period before when we won less often, so it's a real pleasure to see France winning," the 38-time Test scrum-half said.

"What was important for us is that the new players and the whole squad found out what we wanted to put in place as quick as possible.

"We're quite confident, even if we haven't had the opportune time to prepare."

iwd/nr