Bordeaux recruits Damian Penaud and achieves the huge blow of this winter
Damian Penaud, 26, the lethal weapon of the Blues in 2022, considered “one of the best wingers on the planet” by Australian coach Dave Rennie, made his choice. The one who has been evolving for eight seasons in Clermont has decided to put his bags down in Bordeaux.
The Auvergne club, where the native of Brive completed his training before being crowned French champion in 2017 and winning the European Challenge in 2019, took note on Wednesday of “his choice to discover new horizons and live a new adventure”.
“A World Class Day”
The club claims to have tried everything to retain its player, with “a global offer commensurate with the challenge”, which “articulates around the financial aspect, of course, but also the sports project and a component family and non-sporting”. It wasn’t enough.
For a time, Toulouse, with its host of internationals, flirted with the winger with 37 selections (21 tries registered), great craftsman of the Grand Slam des Bleus last spring and voted best player in the international test matches in November (3 tries registered in 3 games). With in particular a double against Japan in a Stadium in the eyes of Chimène for the son of Alain, opener champion of France with the Red and Black in 2001.
“He’s an alien”, a “world-class player”, had also called him Toulouse manager Ugo Mola at the beginning of October during a match between his team and ASM, secretly hoping to see him land on the banks of the Garonne.
This will be the case, but further downstream, despite the uncertainty that has reigned in Gironde for several months and which has been transformed on a start to the season under tension, marked by the ousting of its media manager Christophe Urios in mid-November. A context that ultimately did not put off Penaud, a “guy apart” according to the coach in charge of the tricolor attack Laurent Labit, passionate about video games and chess, a hobby that helps him channel his fiery temperament.
Keep Jalibert, while waiting for Radradra
“Damian’s choice to come to Bordeaux is indicative of the attractiveness of the club, our ambition and our determination to continue to grow,” said UBB president Laurent Marti.
With this arrival, the Girondin club makes an impression after having reached an agreement in principle with Yannick Bru for the post of manager next season. The former coach of the forwards of the XV of France would come with Thibault Giroud, current director of performance of the Blues, who knows Penaud very well. The UBB at the same time sent a strong message internally, in particular to its international opener Matthieu Jalibert, who, despite a current contract until 2025, was still recently asking questions about his future.
The arrival of Penaud, to whom Jalibert had made a double jump pass for his decisive try against Australia (30-29) at the beginning of November, surely changes the situation. Especially since rumors are rife of the return to Gironde of another X factor, the Fijian center Semi Radradra, who left for Bristol in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. As long as his knee doesn’t bother him anymore.
With a hinge Maxime Lucu – Matthieu Jalibert, a pair of centers Yoram Moefana – Semi Radradra and wings Damian Penaud and the Congolese Madosh Tambwe, one of the revelations of the first part of the Top 14, the UBB would become more than competitive after the Cup of the world 2023.