Get to know teenage No 8 Jordan Joseph, who is a back-to-back U20 World Cup winner

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France U20 back-row Jordan Joseph

Date of birth 31 July 2000 Born Gonesse, Paris Club Racing 92 Country France Position Back-row

What sports did you play growing up?

I played a lot of football. It was a natural choice for me coming from Paris; it’s all you see – on the streets, on the telly.

When did you first get to play rugby?

I was 13, at a club called Sarcelles. It was my first sports teacher who encouraged me to do so, saying I was better suited to the sport. I owe him a lot.

After a year, I went to Massy, which is a bigger club. I stopped playing football at that point. Rugby has a conviviality for me that doesn’t exist in football. It’s a lot more sociable and I love that element.

What do you most enjoy about rugby?

The contact, the tackling, the physicality, although I like to think my biggest strength is my attacking game. I love running with the ball and to offload.

Who are your heroes?

Billy Vunipola is a real hero of mine. It’s his style of play I love. I made a point of watching the European final and he was fantastic.

When did you first link up with Racing 92?

I was 16 when first approached by Racing but I didn’t want to go. I was really enjoying life at Massy, the friends I had there. I don’t have an agent so it was my parents and family who eventually convinced me to go, but I’m happy now.

My first season was after my first U20 World Championship. It was a well-timed transition because I arrived with a little bit more experience. And Racing helped me to return this year as a better player.

What are your goals for the next year?

My short-term goal is just to perform well for the club. Of course, I’d love to play for the international side, and if my phone rings I’d be delighted, but for the minute it’s not my objective.

What do you do away from rugby?

I watch a lot of football, go to the cinema, have a drink with riends.

I like to travel and I’d love to visit New Zealand or Australia to experience the culture there and a different way of life.

RW VERDICT: With two U20 world titles to his name by the age of 18, he’s well on his way to living up to expectation. He was a vital cog in a dominant French team again this year. Don’t be fooled by his frame into thinking he’s just a powerful carrier; he has it all.

This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Rugby World magazine.

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