Gregory Alldritt: The forward who can power France to Rugby World Cup glory

Alldritt will be a key part of France’s World Cup squad  (Getty Images)
Alldritt will be a key part of France’s World Cup squad (Getty Images)

With the 2023 Rugby World Cup taking place in France, the host nation will be amongst the favourites to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for the first time in their country’s history.

If France are to achieve such a feat, they will have to rely on the individual quality of several key players including captain Antoine Dupont and commanding number eight, Gregory Alldritt.

Alldritt has few chinks in the armour and could claim to be the best number eight in the game. The 26-year-old La Rochelle back row links beautifully with scrum-half Dupont and can shred defences with his power in the carry, smart offloads and acceleration.

Born in Condom-en-Armagnac in southwestern France, Alldritt is half French and half Scottish, owing to his father Terrence who moved to Stirling at the age of 12 after attending a boarding in South Africa.

Alldritt, though, was brought up in France and shares a similar rugby origin story to that of Dupont when it comes to their junior pathway. After all, the duo are two of the four players within this current French World Cup squad to have plied their trade at the esteemed club Auch in their academy days.

Having progressed through the academy ranks at Auch, he would eventually make his professional debut for the club in the 2016-17 season, scoring two tries in 14 appearances.

However, with the club going bankrupt at the end of that season, Alldritt was forced to move but with his potential clear to all he was not short of suitors and eventually joined top-division side La Rochelle.

In his six full seasons since then, Alldritt has gone from strength to strength. The 2020/21 season - his fourth with the club - was one of the Frenchman’s most devastating, running in 12 tries in 18 games as La Rochelle agonisingly finished runner-up in the Top 14 and the European Champions Cup.

Alldritt has won back-to-back European Champions Cups with La Rochelle (Getty Images)
Alldritt has won back-to-back European Champions Cups with La Rochelle (Getty Images)

Under the tutelage of former Irish great, Ronan O’Gara, the French club responded the following year in emphatic fashion to capture their first-ever European Champions Cup with victory over Leinster in the final.

2023 would see the club repeat the feat, again downing the Irish side in the final with a dramatic 27-26 victory having been 17 points down at one stage in the contest.

Alongside this decorated club career, Alldritt has enjoyed great success in the international arena, establishing himself as one of international rugby’s best number eights.

He made his debut in the 2019 Six Nations, coming on as a late replacement in France’s defeat to Wales but made an instant impact just two games later with a brace of tries against Scotland.

After a disappointing World Cup in 2019, which saw Les Blues exit at the quarter-final stage against Wales, Alldritt was a key figure in the 2020 Six Nations as Fabien Galthie began his tenure as head coach with a second-place finish. Alldritt produced three man-of-the-match performances during the tournament and was nominated for Player of the Championship.

Two years later, in 2022, he was a key cog, once again, as France went one better, completing the Grand Slam and winning the Six Nations title for the first time since 2010.

Now, faced with a home World Cup, Alldritt will hope to raise his levels once more as France go in search of the elusive Webb Ellis Cup having finished runner-up on three separate occasions.