French rugby star, Mathieu Bastareaud, is set to start Lyon’s pre-season game with Grenoble at number eight following discussions with the coaching staff.
The ex-France captain joined the Top 14 side on a short-term deal before he joins Rugby United New York ahead of the 2020 campaign. According to Rugby Pass, it is believed that his power in close quarters and ability around the contact area has led to him being selected in the pack.
Last month, Bastareaud spoke to the media about the prospect of playing at number eight:
“With [head coach] Pierre (Mignoni), we discussed the possibility of playing at number eight,” he said.
“I told him that I was not close to playing in that position. On the contrary, since we are talking about change, why not continue! It can also be exciting to take on this challenge over this period. After that, I think I still have a lot of work to perform at this key position. But we will try!”
Bastareaud won 54 caps for the French national side spanning a decade between 2009 and 2019, however, he was recently omitted from their training squad ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan. It was a move that prompted Bastareaud’s immediate retirement from international rugby and his decision to move to New York.