His coup caused a stir. Sunday evening against Racing 92, Nicolas Depoortère scored a masterful try. Powerful, fast and slender, the young three-quarter center from Union Bordeaux-Bègles (1.93 m for 96 kg) tore through the Ile-de-France defense with a mad dash of 80 meters, with disconcerting ease and incredible class. . “We have the impression that he is a player who does not go very fast because he is very tall with a long stride but I assure you that it goes very, very, very quickly,” smiled his hooker and captain Maxime Lamothe.

Spotlight then particle acceleration. With the suspension of Jonathan Danty, the recent U20 world champion – who had previously been summoned to training in Marcoussis – will have his chance on the upper level on Sunday. With the Grand XV of France traveling to Wales (4 p.m.).

“It’s a childhood dream,” he salivates. I expected it a little at the start of the week, even if the coaches had changed the training protocol a little. I was associated with Gaël all the time, so it smelled pretty good. “Jo” (Danty) was booked in the previous match, and as usual, I tried to take advantage of my last club match to show the best of myself before coming back here. The meeting went well.” And to step directly into the shoes of a starter, in particular in place of the experienced Yoram Moefana or Émilien Gailleton, his former friend in the under-20s.

Depoortère arrives in Blue with the label of attack detonator. The French XV will really need it as the first three matches of this 2024 edition have been sluggish – even soporific – on the attacking front. “The group was criticized but remained strong. It’s a very high-level group that knows how to stay together. There is no malice between the guys or the staff. We really stay focused on what we have to do,” says the player trained at US Izon in Gironde.

For his big international debut, he will be chaperoned by Gaël Fickou, the “grandpa” of the French attack and the most experienced player in the France group with his 88 caps since 2013. “To evolve with him is even more of a dream. Gaël is one of the best centers that currently exists, and who has been part of many generations of the France team. It will really benefit me. It’s extraordinary for me and my future,” he says. Far from being impressed while all the spotlight is on him, the UBB player is one of these uninhibited and ambitious U20 world champions, who now feed the French team in a tight flow.

Also read: XV of France: world champion, friendship with Bielle-Biarrey, mullet cut… 5 things to know about Nicolas Depoortère

Here again, the promising center – who was launched in the Top 14 in December 2022 – does not pull the cover: “Our new generation benefits from the greats around us, whether at club or in the XV of France. We are always well integrated and this allows us to have confidence in ourselves and to express ourselves well.” This Sunday, in the Cardiff cauldron, he will play the first center position, he who is more of a number 13. Not a problem, to listen to him. “Since the start of the rallies, I have been training as the first center. I ask advice from “Jo” and Yoram, and even from Gaël who has a lot of experience in this position. I am well surrounded and I feel comfortable.” No revolution to expect in the absence of Danty. “The launches are the same, even if we have two different types,” he confirms.

The young man seems impervious to pressure. Comfortable in front of the press, smiling, he knows well what awaits him at the Principality Stadium. William Servat set the scene: “For me, it is perhaps one of the most beautiful stadiums in the world. Entering this stadium gives you chills. Sometimes we can’t talk to each other because there’s so much noise, it’s an incredible atmosphere with singing throughout the meeting.” Young Depoortère was informed. “I might still have a little pressure: 80,000 people is not nothing,” he admits. But we will try to ignore all that to stay “focused”.”

He will experience this great moment with his great friend Louis Bielle-Biarrey. Both are inseparable. “We shared our first matches in Espoirs, our first matches in U20, then among the pros, and now I am celebrating this first with him in the French team. It’s a great adventure that we’re doing together, I’m very happy to share it with him.” His family will also travel to Cardiff. Big smile: “They were waiting for it to be official, they were completely in front of their computers!”