Mathieu Jalibert upstages Louis Carbonel as race for French #10 jersey heats up

Mathieu Jalibert upstages Louis Carbonel as race for French #10 jersey heats up

Saturday's opening Top 14 game doubled up as a trial match for the two leading contenders for the French starting 10 jersey with Romain Ntamack likely to miss the opening stages of the Six Nations.

Bordeaux hosted Toulon in the opening game which saw Mathieu Jalibert and Louis Carbonel face off across from one another. During 2020, Jalibert was the second choice behind Ntamack with Carbonel breathing down his neck but due to the deal cut with the French Federation and the TOP14 clubs, both players got more time in the Les Bleus jersey than they may have expected. 

With Ntamack injured both players had the opportunity to make a massive claim for the jersey on Saturday but it was Jalibert who came out on top as he scored 21 points in Bordeaux's 31-18 victory over Toulon.

The talsimatic playmaker racked up over 70 running metres beating six defenders as well as dotting down for a five-pointer, slotting four penalties and two conversions. The 22-year-old did manage to miss two shots at goal.

Bordeaux got off the mark quickly with Ben Lam assisting Cameron Woki for a try in the 2nd the minute of the game before Carbonel closed the gap with a penalty in the 13th minute. 

It was shortly after that penalty that Jalibert took control as he sliced through the Toulon defence and skipped past Carbonel to score a stunning solo try.

Jalibert added the conversion to his try as well as two further penalties before Carbonel hit back with a penalty of his own just before half time as Toulon trailed 20-6.

Isaia Toeava and Ma'a Nonu would link up well in the second half with the former finishing off the try as Toulon closed the gap to nine points just two minutes into the second half.

It was just five minutes later when Carbonel cost his side dearly. Taking a shot from about 40 metres out, Carbonel took his time lining up his kick but instead took too long and Bordeaux were awarded the scrum.

From the resulting scrum, Jalibert spread the ball wide to Ben Lam who again provided an excellent this time for Romain Buros as Bordeaux showed their ruthlessness.

Jalibert missed the conversion from outside but nailed another penalty to give his side a 17 point lead.

Bryce Heem managed to score another for Toulon but by that stage the damage was done as Jalibert added another penalty to secure the 13 point victory for his side and take a lead in the race for the starting Les Bleus #10 jersey.

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