The France fly-half tells Paul Eddison why he prefers helping others to shine
Romain Ntamack enjoys “understated” role
When reflecting on France’s win over New Zealand last autumn, for many the standout moment will be Romain Ntamack’s audacious break from behind his own try-line that so nearly led to an incredible try.
Yet the France fly-half is far more comfortable creating opportunities for others to make such breaks than making them himself – that dart against the All Blacks something of a rarity.
Ntamack’s vision of an outside-half in this France team is that of a facilitator. When you have talents like Damian Penaud and Gael Fickou outside you, and the genius of Antoine Dupont at scrum-half, the fly-half does not have to be the focal point.
Asked by Rugby World to describe his approach, the Toulouse No 10 explains: “I would say my game is understated. I’m not someone who is going to put myself in the limelight on the pitch.
“I play a position where I have to be aware of others and know how to guide them and use them as well as I can because I have amazing players around me, so I want to make them shine as much as possible.
“If it opens up in front of me, then it opens up and that is great but I’m not going to look to make a break every time. I take more pleasure in making others look good and putting them into the best position.”
His selflessness was evident during France’s Six Nations Grand Slam. He finished the championship with the joint most try assists alongside Jamison Gibson-Park with four, including this one to set up Dupont against Ireland.
Ntamack is quite happy to operate under the radar, saying: “It doesn’t bother me to have a role that is a little more discreet. We have a game plan that asks me to do that and I feel like I have adapted well.
“I am able to play my cards right when the moment comes, even if I probably touch the ball half as much as Marcus Smith or Johnny Sexton. I’m still able to do nice things now and again. I know it’s a different style of play but I enjoy it.”
Read more from this exclusive interview with Romain Ntamack in Rugby World’s Style Issue – on sale now.
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