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France release six players with Tuilagi reportedly set for first start

By Josh Raisey
Posolo Tuilagi/ PA

France have released six players back to their clubs as Fabien Galthie’s squad gear towards their clash with Italy in Lille on Sunday in round three of the Guinness Six Nations.

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Three forwards and three backs have returned to their clubs for the latest round of Top 14 action. Agen prop Alex Burin, Bordeaux-Begles No8 Marko Gazzotti and Toulon lock Matthias Halagahu are the three forwards, while Bordeaux-Begles centre Nicolas Depoortere, Pau centre Emilien Gailleton and Toulouse wing Matthis Lebel are the three backs.

Elsewhere in the squad, French outlet Midi Olympique are reporting that 19-year-old lock Posolo Tuilagi is in line to make his first start for France at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

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After starting on the bench against Ireland and Scotland in the opening two rounds of the Championship, the son of Henry Tuilagi is poised to partner Cameron Woki in the second-row.

Tuilagi was not even originally selected in France’s Six Nations squad, but a series of injuries and suspensions to his fellow second-rows has seen the 149kg forward swiftly rise through the ranks over the past month.

Fixture
Six Nations
France
13 - 13
Full-time
Italy
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After an opening round loss to Ireland in Marseille, France bounced back in round two with a narrow win over Scotland at Murrayfield which came down to a much-discussed TMO decision at the death. The win came at a price though, with captain Gregory Alldritt now unavailable for this weekend’s match after injuring his leg.

Italy, meanwhile, have suffered back-to-back defeats- narrowly to England 27-24 in round one in Rome and a slightly more comprehensive 36-0 loss to Ireland in round three.

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With Manu Tuilagi available for England this week as they face Scotland in the Calcutta Cup on Saturday, we are edging closer to a meeting between Manu and his nephew Posolo in round five of the Championship in Lyon.

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mitch 50 minutes ago
The Wallabies team Joe Schmidt must pick to win back Bledisloe Cup

Rodda will be a walk up starter at lock. Frost if you analyse his dominance has little impact and he’s a long way from being physical enough, especially when you compare to Rodda and the work he does. He was quite poor at the World Cup in his lack of physicality. Between Rodda and Skelton we would have locks who can dominate the breakdown and in contact. Frost is maybe next but Schmidt might go for a more physical lock who does their core work better like Ryan or LSL. Swain is no chance unless there’s a load of injuries. Pollard hasn’t got the scrum ability yet to be considered. Nasser dominated him when they went toe to toe and really showed him up. Picking Skelton effects who can play 6 and 8. Ideally Valetini would play 6 as that’s his best position and Wilson at 8 but that’s not ideal for lineout success. Cale isn’t physical enough yet in contact and defence but is the best backrow lineout jumper followed by Wright, Hanigan and Swinton so unfortunately Valetini probably will start at 8 with Wright or Hanigan at 6. Wilson on the bench, he’s got too much quality not to be in the squad. Paisami is leading the way at 12 but Hamish Stewart is playing extremely well also and his ball carrying has improved significantly. Beale is also another option based on the weekend. Beale is class but he’s also the best communicator of any Australian backline player and that can’t be underestimated, he’ll be in the mix.

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