Ethan Randle’s brother Calum may play for England Sevens but the France flyer is in no doubt where his rugby allegiance lies ahead of their clash against Georgia on Under-20 Six Nations Summer Series Finals Day, writes Josh Graham in Treviso.
Randle’s father fulfilled his childhood dream by retiring to Carcassonne in the south of France a decade ago, ensuring both his Cheltenham-born sons represented Les Bleues.
Calum returned to the UK last summer and will represent Team England in the upcoming Commonwealth Games but Ethan remains committed across the channel and is set to move to Paris to mix it with the international stars at Stade Francais next season.
Randle, 20, said: “He took the decision to take us all out there and I haven’t looked back since, it has been cracking!
“My brother decided to move back but I’m still enjoying it in France, I’ve just signed a contract so it’s all going well and I think it’s going to be a good experience for me and a move that will really help me develop my game.
“It will bring me closer to my family in England and to see my mates over there but my parents will be staying down south and it’s easy to get back.
“It’s a good thing to have the two languages and the two different cultures being English and French at the same time.
“Singing the Marseillaise really gives you goosebumps, it’s really special but it was definitely strange coming up against England.”
Having come through the French system from Under-16s all the way through to Under-20s, Randle - who followed his brother to Narbonne before spending four years at Perpignan - admits it will be an emotional end to age-grade rugby against the Junior Lelos.
He added: “I’m one of the lucky ones that have been through all the age groups, I know all the boys and have known them for ages.
“This last game is going to be a special one and an emotional one. We are training and playing to get to the highest level, but you never know. We’ve definitely got to cherish this moment.”
Both France and Georgia finished third in their pools and despite tasting defeat against the Junior Springboks last time out, Randleplayed a key role in France’s scintillating opening score that was finished by Louis Bielle-Biarrey.
More accustomed to playing in the centre, Randle admits he is eager to get his hands on the ball when stationed on the wing and despite starting on the bench against Georgia on Tuesday night in Treviso, hopes France can put some width on their attack against a physical but familiar opposition for many of his teammates.
He explained: “That’s what the game plan is - to chuck it around a bit. We really want to get the ball out and especially when I’m on the wing, I want to go looking for the ball. All the backs touched the ball for that try I think.
“It’s a big game for us, it’s the last one for our generation. We are disappointed with finishing where we did in our Pool but we are still going to give it 100 percent against Georgia.
“I think some of the boys play with a couple of the players and there are quite a few Georgians in France. They are big, solid guys. The forwards have a strong style of play, a lot of mauls and they are really dominant.
“They are a strong team up front and they’ve got their style of play which is pretty hard to counter, so it’s going to be a good game really.”