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