Imagine jumping on a train that’s already launched off the platform, then wandering down the aisle, slightly out of breath, looking for an available seat, before finally sitting down in first class with all the options included. This is pretty much what the young Charlotte Escudero (21) is going through, a last-minute passenger in the car for the World Cup, propelled holder for the first stage ax of the World Cup, Saturday in quarter-finals.
“It was not at all in my plans to be there, not so long ago”, laughs the Varoise, placed on a terrace of the Hôtel des Bleues in Whangarei. The Blagnac player measures the speed of her ascent: she only celebrated her first cap on September 3 in a warm-up match against the Transalpines (21-0). And if she was already a regular at the gatherings of the France group for two seasons, seeing her shine with so much regularity in New Zealand is a pleasant surprise.
Surrounded by the many other Blagnac players present in the group, she seems perfectly in her element, chaining high-ranking defensive performances in particular against South Africa (40-5) and England (7-13). Requisitioned on the wing of the third line until then, Escudero will start in 8 on Saturday.
The speed advantage
To make up for the absence of Romane Ménager, who has just resumed training without contact after his head shock two weeks ago against the English, coach Thomas Darracq preferred to the power of Émeline Gros, substitute Appointed, the liveliness of Escudero. “Italy is a team that can be very dangerous until the end, and we want to keep our speed. So we’re going to start with a rather mobile and running third-line wing (Escudero) then finish with a more buoyant number 8 (Big), who will bring a lot of speed when she returns, justifies the coach. It is a team balance that is privileged. »
Escudero, less accustomed to this position of 8, can count on her partners to give her advice. She reviewed a few details with Ménager and Gros during training on Thursday morning. “It happened naturally, when there are things on which I am in demand, the girls are really attentive”appreciates the Blagnacaise, who gains confidence each time the staff gives her a place in the starting fifteen.
Even if she admits to being slightly apprehensive of finding herself in the center of the third row on Saturday: “At first, I thought I had a lot to prove, as I was new, but today it’s more the position that puts me under pressure than tenure. In the third line wing, we have less responsibility while in number 8, there is more expectation and more things to think about and do. »
In the blue game system, Escudero will have to touch the ball more often in this position, for example by being detached from the alignment during the touch phases. We could then discover it in a less needy, more dazzling light. “It puts me under pressure and it excites me at the same timeshe smiles. I think it’s going to be awesome. »