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Suspended at the start of the season for a positive cocaine test, Oscar Jegou has managed to carve out a place for himself in La Rochelle's rotation. The third row, 2023 world champion with Les Bleuets, has been putting in a string of high-flying performances off the bench since mid-February.

"Despite his lack of experience, he sets an example for everyone around him, and you want to get on his wheel. It's just great." When this kind of compliment comes from the mouth of an old hand like Alldritt, it's usually worth double. At the very least. "He" is Oscar Jegou, his third-row partner at La Rochelle. Still precious and decisive on April 28 against Toulon, author of the liberation try (27-17) in the closing match of the 22nd day of the Top 14, the 21-year-old great hope - he will celebrate his birthday at the end of May - has further confirmed his return to the odor of sanctity, a good half-year after his autumn setbacks.

November 2023. Worshipped across the world a few months earlier when France won the U20 World Championship, Oscar Jegou found himself in turmoil. Le Bleuet is serving a one-month suspension. Sanctioned by the AFLD (French Anti-Doping Agency) in response to a positive test for cocaine, on the bangs of Day1 of the Top 14. The young Jegou, full of regret, pleads that this was due to " a youthful error " which led him to consume this banned substance "in a festive and private setting". After a precautionary layoff by his club, he will not return to the pitch until the end of January, with the Espoirs. After a period of support and an awareness program.

"I'm back in shape

While this episode could have had a major impact on his promising career, it has now been relegated to the status of a hiccup. Since his return to the Stade Rochelais first team in mid-February, Oscar Jegou has taken part in seven of the club's eight Top 14 outings, making one start. All of which goes to show how dynamic he is at the moment, and how much confidence the staff have in him, in a position where competition is fierce. "That's what I tell myself. It's confirmation that I'm back in form, and I'm happy with that," he said in the wake of the win over Toulon.