France have made five changes to their XV to host Scotland in Paris this Friday in the rescheduled Guinness Six Nations round three game that will decide whether the hosts or the table-topping Wales will be crowned 2021 champions.
The French, who denied the Welsh the Grand Slam with a dramatic match-winning, clock-in-the-red try from Brice Dulin last Saturday, need a four-try bonus-point win and a 21-point margin of victory to become champions for the first time since 2010.
It’s a tall order and to aid their efforts, coach Fabien Galthie has changed a third of his starting XV. With Mathieu Jalibert out injured, Romain Ntamack takes over at out-half for a first start in this year’s tournament while there is also quite a positional reshuffle further out due to just one change in personnel.
With last weekend’s right wing Teddy Thomas dropping to the bench, Damien Penaud switches from left to right, midfielder Gael Fickou moves from inside centre to left wing while Arthur Vincent comes in from the replacements to start at No12.
The other three changes are all in the pack. With second row Paul Willemse suspended following his red card versus the Welsh, Swan Rebbadj is promoted from the bench where he will combine in the engine room with the called-up Bernard Le Roux. Romain Taofifenua drops to the bench.
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— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) March 24, 2021
Meanwhile, at blindside, Anthony Jelonch takes over from Dylan Creyin who will be a replacement on this occasion. With Ntamack promoted to start at out-half, Anthony Bouthier comes onto the bench where there is a five/three split between forwards and backs.
FRANCE (vs Scotland, Friday)
15. Dulin; 14. Penaud, 13. Vakatawa, 12. Vincent, 11. Fickou; 10. Ntamack, 9. Dupont; 8. Aldritt, 7. Ollivon (capt), 6. Jelonch, 5. Rebbadj, 4. Le Roux, 3. Haouas, 2. Marchand, 1. Baille. Reps: 16. Chat, 17. Gros, 18. Atonio, 19. Taofifenua, 20. Cretin, 21. Serin, 22. Bouthier, 23. Thomas.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 23, 2021
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