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France name Six Nations team with five changes from World Cup exit

By Liam Heagney
Romain Taofifenua, Peato Mauvaka, Uini Atonio and Gael Fickou before France's Rugby World Cup quarter-final (Photo by David Ramos/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Fabien Galthie has named his France team for this Friday’s Guinness Six Nations opener versus Ireland, a selection that has five changes from the starting XV beaten by South Africa in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

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The French were knocked out of their home World Cup with a 28-29 defeat to the Springboks in Paris on October 15 and their return to action 16 weeks later will see them field a starting team with three changes to the pack and two in the backs.

With Antoine Dupont taking a sabbatical from the Test scene and switching to HSBX SVNS ahead of the upcoming Olympic Games, the promoted Maxime Lucu takes over at scrum-half with Nolann Le Garrec providing the bench cover.

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On the left wing, Yoram Moefana, a sub versus South Africa, will start in place of the benched Louis Bielle-Biarrey. He is one of just two backs in the replacements where six forwards are included.

Regarding the starting pack, Anthony Jelonch, who suffered an ACL injury in Toulouse’s recent Investec Champions Cup win over Bath, has been replaced at blindside by Francois Cros.

Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
3
Draws
0
Wins
2
Average Points scored
23
27
First try wins
60%
Home team wins
60%

He will be supporting a changed second row combination where Paul Willemse and Paul Gabrillagues are named as the starting locks instead of the benched Cameron Woki and the absent Thibaud Flament.

Newcomers to the French bench who didn’t feature in the match day 23 against South Africa include the fit-again sub hooker Julian Marchand in place of Pierre Bourgarit and back row Paul Boudehent takes over from Sekou Macalou.

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Ireland boss Andy Farrell will name his team for the Stade Velodrome championship opener later on Wednesday.

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1 Comment
f
finn 145 days ago

gabrillagues over woki seems an odd choice!

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