Barring a few absences, this is almost a full-strength side which is loaded with players that have impressed throughout the Top 14 season. Clermont Auvergne’s Alivereti Raka and Toulouse’s François Cros are also set to make their debuts.
With 14 players out of the matchday 23 under the age of 25, this is a sign of the promise that France have over the next five years or so. In fact, after winning the past two World Rugby Under-20 Championships, emerging talent has never been something that France are in short supply of.
However, the main criticism of the French team over the past two years has been the way that they have been managed by Brunel, the choices that he has made with selection and the style of rugby he has chosen to play.
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France have endured some dark days since the last World Cup, but the class at their disposal has never been questioned. Betsen clearly knows this and he has sent the message on Twitter that France can “dominate the world” if they collectively decide to.
Le rêve commence ! Rêver d’une coupe du monde et être enfin là pour embarquer pour la #RWC2019 : bravo a tous. Très belle composition, hate de vous voir en action. Si collectivement on le décide on peut dominer le monde et aller au bout de cette magnifique aventure #NeFaisonsXV https://t.co/KrDf2w1Kpo
— Serge Betsen (@SBetsen) August 15, 2019
The 63-cap flanker is touching upon what has been France’s clearest problem, but the hardest one to solve in recent years. Les Bleus have looked laboured and disjointed in seasons past and have lacked any belief, but have shown flashes of what they are capable of.
Their opening game of the Six Nations against Wales was a microcosm of where they are currently, as a sublime first half played at tempo saw them race to a 16-point half-time lead before they capitulated and fell apart.
France are in a tough pool this year with both England and Argentina and will want to save any blushes of going out in the pool stages, which is a possibility. The players are there for them to dominate world rugby ahead of the 2023 World Cup on home soil, and even to thrive in Japan this year. But, as Betsen says, it requires them all to play their part.
WATCH: Wales boss Warren Gatland talks to the media ahead of the World Cup warm-up match against England in Cardiff on Saturday
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