France have been gifted a mighty and rare young Irish prop

‘Obviously I have my little Irish side but playing for France has always been clear’

France’s Daniel Brennan could still play for Ireland. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

France’s Daniel Brennan could still play for Ireland. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

French prop Daniel Brennan’s pitch side interview at Stade Aime Giral on Tuesday, after New Zealand were dethroned in the Junior World Cup semi-final, went viral. Instantly.

“I can’t say it,” began his heavy Leixlip accent, spitting distance from the west Dublin borderline, before delivering the clean version, “Absolutely Bloody Delighted!”

Brennan remains eligible to play international rugby for Ireland.

Despite captaining France under-20s twice in the Six Nations and helping Les Bleus reach Sunday’s final against England, the 19 year old son of Trevor Brennan has the option of altering his current career path.

The IRFU have not been idle but this 21 stone, six-foot-three tighthead turned down an offer to join Munster next season. Instead Brennan, who turns 20 in September, is leaving Toulouse having signed a three year contract with Montpellier.

“Toulouse is a great club but I wasn’t getting enough opportunities, so I decided I needed to leave to get more games,” said Brennan last month. “I had interest from Clermont, Castres and Munster but I wanted to stay in the French system.

“I had a chat with Vern Cotter, the Montpellier coach, and was impressed, and there will be the chance to learn from [veteran Springbok] Jannie du Plessis, one of the best tightheads around.”

Brennan has a singular intention: he wants to be playing international rugby before the 2023 World Cup comes to France.

“France has always been my country,” he told Midi Olympique.

“Obviously I have my little Irish side but playing for France has always been clear. In my mind, this choice is final.”

Brennan can change his mind as World Rugby confirmed that French under-20 caps do not make him ineligible for the country of his birth.

The move to Toulouse happened when he was only three years old, after his father, capped 13 times between 1998 and 2001, was frozen out of the Leinster and Ireland teams. Two Heineken Cups later, the 44 year old Brennan remains a cult figure in Toulouse as well as becoming a successful businessman and publican.

As he regularly explained in a previous Irish Times column, the move changed the family’s lifestyle for the better.

Currently, the decision to leave Ireland, more forced upon Brennan senior than something he actively sought, has gifted France a mighty and rare young Irish prop.

Daniel Brennan is expected to start Sunday’s final on the bench behind Brive tighthead Demba Bamba.

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