Get to know the prop who stole the show at this year’s U20 World Cup and has been named in the France squad for the 2018 autumn Internationals – Demba Bamba

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Brive and France U20 prop Demba Bamba

Date of Birth 17 March 1998 Born Paris Club Brive Country France Position Tighthead prop

You grew up in Saint-Denis, a Paris suburb known more for football than rugby…

I discovered rugby at school when I was 14 and played in a small regional tournament. Someone from the Saint-Denis club saw me and invited me over.

Have you always played prop?

No, I was No 8 in my first year. At 15 I switched to prop, but I still like running with the ball.

You were a national judo champion at 14. Has that sport helped your rugby?

Yes. Both require great upper-body strength and good technique to bring down your opponent. I also played a lot of handball, which has helped my rugby.

How hard was it to move from Paris to a country town like Brive?

I was only 16, so it took time. Everything’s different but I adapted and I love it here now.

You’ve signed for Lyon and will join them next season. Why Lyon?

It’s a very professional club. Their facilities are excellent and I think it’s a club that is excellent at developing young players.

How do you relax?

I love listening to music and going on my PlayStation, and I play a lot of other sport, particularly football. I support Marseille.

Your performances in France’s U20 World Cup win made headlines…

It’s not something I’ve been used to, so it was a surprise, but a nice one. It’s made me more motivated because it’s nice to see those sort of headlines.

What’s your main ambition for this season?

To have a big season for Brive in the ProD2. I’m now too old for France U20, so it’s going to require a lot of work to make the next step into the senior squad. But I’m patient and it’s a question of working little by little towards that goal.

And the 2023 World Cup in France?

Yes, that’s a dream. Not just because it’s in France but the final will be at the Stade de France. I grew up about five minutes from the stadium so it’s really home for me.

RW VERDICT: Bamba stands 6ft 1in, weighs 18st 7lb and runs like a back-row. A regular in Brive’s pack, the 20-year-old is now learning his scrummaging craft in the ProD2. Once he’s honed his technique, he’s going to be one the world’s most feared prop forwards.

This article originally appeared in the November 2018 edition of Rugby World.

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