17 January 2017
There were questions after Luka Karabatic’s injury on whether France would be able to find a substitute for him. But the answer came just a couple of minutes after Luka went back to the dressing room: Ludovic Fabregas is definitely up to the task.
It was the first bad news for France in this competition. Suffering from torn ankle ligaments, line player Luka Karabatic had to go back home on Saturday, not being able to play for the rest of the competition. The PSG player was a crucial element in the French defence, but also a good substitution in attack for Cedric Sorhaindo.
At 20 years old, Ludovic Fabregas was third-choice line player, but proved against Japan and then again against Norway that he was already up to the task.
“Ludovic is a very intelligent player, who learns very fast. When we first called him in the national team, we wanted him to be ready for the 2017 World Championships,” recalled coach Didier Dinart. “But we saw already in the Olympics that he was ready, he played very well in the semi-final, for instance. He’s going to be an even more important player now but I definitely think he’s up to the task.”
With seven goals against Japan and three more yesterday facing Norway, Fabregas is already in the top three French scorers, alongside much more experienced players Nikola Karabatic and Michael Guigou. But, if you listen to him, much of the credit goes to his teammates. “It’s easy to play alongside such guys, they’re doing everything to make me feel comfortable,” he confesses. “I know it’s still a long way to the top, but you get quicker to the point with such good players and coaches to help you.”
One of the key players that has taken Ludovic Fabregas under his wing is fellow line player Cedric Sorhaindo. Just like the actual coach Didier Dinart did with him, Sorhaindo is helping Fabregas to learn all the job’s subtleties.
“Cedric calls him ‘mini-me’, I see them talk a lot,” says Didier Dinart. “It’s all a part of the transmission plan that has been successful for the last decade. The older guys help the young climbing the ladder so everyone can benefit,” adds co-trainer Guillaume Gille.
The decision not to call up another line player after Luka Karabatic’s withdrawal showed how much confidence the French staff puts into Ludovic Fabregas, despite his relative lack of experience.
Who knows what’s going to happen France up until the end of the competition, but at least for now, Ludovic Fabregas is definitely up to taking on Luka’s duties. And that is definitely good news for the French.
Photo: S. Pillaud / IHF