Ready to play their first game since the March defeat to Scotland in the Six Nations, Fabien Galthie has made three changes to the France XV that will host Wales in Paris in a friendly this Saturday.   

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Teddy Thomas, omitted completely from the Racing 92 matchday squad for last Saturday’s Champions Cup final defeat to Exeter, comes in at right wing for Damian Penaud who was sidelined earlier this month for up to eight weeks following a tibiofibular sprain. 

There is also a change on the other wing, Vincent Rattez coming in for benched midfielder Arthur Vincent. Gael Fickou, who started as No11 at Murrayfield, will switch into the centre to accommodate Rattez. 

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Ex-England captain Dylan Hartley on his 2013 Premiership final red card

The only change to the pack is at loosehead, Cyril Baille replacing the retired Jefferson Poirot. It means Galthie has forgiven his tighthead Mohamed Haouas after his red card significantly influenced the result in Scotland, France losing and ending their Grand Slam hopes following three February wins.  

Galthie said: “This team looks like the starting XV of our first match at the Six Nations tournament against England. We like continuity. It’s a mission enterprise, we met 90 players, the managers with whom we shared our life project, of game. 

“This team which will start is the same which started last February… our team is growing and gaining individual and collective maturity.”

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It wasn’t until last week that Galthie was able to plough ahead with plans for France’s six-match autumn. 

A stand-off between the Top 14 clubs and the French federation placed the release of players in jeopardy and the argument was even taken to the Council Of State who insisted it was up to the two warring factions to find a compromise. 

France will follow their warm-up with Wales by hosting Ireland on October 31 in the fixture that will confirm who wins the 2020 Six Nations.  

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