Centre Bastareaud – who captained France last year – not only misses out on a place in the starting line-up, but he will not be on the bench at Stade de France either.
Coach Jacques Brunel has put his faith in the 19-year-old Ntamack, whose father, Emile, won 46 caps for Les Bleus, to take on Warren Gatland’s side after some eye-catching displays for Toulouse and France Under-20s.
— FF Rugby (@FFRugby) January 30, 2019
Brunel has reunited experienced scrum-half Morgan Parra and fly-half Camille Lopez for the start of the tournament.
Promising pop Demba Bamba, who made his international bow against Fiji last November, has only been named among the replacements.
France: Maxime Medard, Damian Penaud, Wesley Fofana, Romain Ntamack, Yoann Huget, Camille Lopez, Morgan Parra; Jefferson Poirot, Guilhem Guirado (captain), Uini Atonio, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Paul Willemse, Wenceslas Lauret, Arthur Iturria, Louis Picamoles.
Replacements: Julien Marchand, Dany Priso, Demba Bamba, Felix Lambey, Gregory Alldritt, Baptiste Serin, Gaël Fickou, Geoffrey Doumayrou.
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