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France to field heaviest pack in international rugby union history

France can 'dominate' the world

France’s monster pack that will face Wales at the Stade de France on Friday night could well be the heaviest international pack ever to take to the field in the game’s history.

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Brunel is clearly looking to take the battle to Wales upfront, naming a gargantuan pack that tips the scales at over 950kg.

The total weight of the pack is a staggering 962kg, a full 60kg heavier than most international sides. While it’s significantly less than a one tonne pack fielded by Toulouse in 2017, it’s almost certainly the heaviest pack fielded in international rugby history.

That puts the average weight of a player at slightly over 120kg, or a shade under 19 stone a man in old money (or 265 pounds in American). The average height of the pack is 6 foot 4 inches.

1 Jefferson Poirot
Bordeaux Begles
5’11
117kg

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2 Guilhem Guirado (captain)
RCT Toulon
5’11
105kg

3 Uini Atonio
La Rochelle
6’5
152kg

4 Sebastien Vahaamahina
ASM Clermont
6’8
125kg

Paul Willemse
Montpellier Herault
6’7
135kg

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Wenceslas Lauret
Racing 92
6’2
103kg

Arthur Iturria
ASM Clermont
6’6
109kg

Louis Picamoles
Montpellier Herault
6’4
116kg

The size of the pack isn’t the only shock.

Centre Mathieu Bastareaud (126kg) – who captained France last year – not only misses out on a place in the starting line-up, but he will not be on the bench at Stade de France either.

Coach Jacques Brunel has put his faith in the 19-year-old Ntamack, whose father, Emile, won 46 caps for Les Bleus, to take on Warren Gatland’s side after some eye-catching displays for Toulouse and France Under-20s.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtRh8dLlFvT/

Ntamack – the youngest player in any of this year’s Six Nations squads – will be paired with Wesley Fofana, while South African-born lock Paul Willemse will also make his debut in Paris.

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Brunel has reunited experienced scrum-half Morgan Parra and fly-half Camille Lopez for the start of the tournament.

Promising pop Demba Bamba, who made his international bow against Fiji last November, has only been named among the replacements.

France: Maxime Medard, Damian Penaud, Wesley Fofana, Romain Ntamack, Yoann Huget, Camille Lopez, Morgan Parra; Jefferson Poirot, Guilhem Guirado (captain), Uini Atonio, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Paul Willemse, Wenceslas Lauret, Arthur Iturria, Louis Picamoles.

Replacements: Julien Marchand, Dany Priso, Demba Bamba, Felix Lambey, Gregory Alldritt, Baptiste Serin, Gaël Fickou, Geoffrey Doumayrou.

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Jon 38 minutes ago
Buoyant England travel to New Zealand full of hope but are they walking into an All Blacks ambush?

> New head coach Scott Robertson has kept only forwards coach Jason Ryan and conditioning coach Nic Gill from the previous regime *and so there is little institutional knowledge inherent in the new team.* Shows you what the English know about sport. Isn’t just fantastic that the best rugby team, or brand, on the planet has three brothers playing together? One a bull, the other a dancer, and last a .. boxer? Looks like a boxer bless him. > But Robertson has been working to fix that issue, with senior players and coaches having been regularly meeting to work out how they will operate together both on and off the field to ensure there is strong decision-making and a deep understanding of how the team wants to play. Have they? I would suggest then it is not a case of fixing things, that is not what Razor does. Razor will evolve the relationship between player and coach into a more symbiotic relationship. This wont be a coach that shouts down at his players theyre not doing good enough. I can imagine one of the first key areas he will be implementing is the respective leadership for each coaching group. Tight five, Loosies, Halves, Centers, and Back Three, will each have their own leadership team and an agile approach to the playing group relaying what they believe is happening on the training paddock, and in games. It will be a very big step to get everyone involved, able, and thinking about contributing to that process, but I believe a very beneficial one if successful. > England may have their best chance to win in 21 years, but they may also be walking into an ambush – *about to be hit* by a young, gifted, supremely physical and athletic All Blacks team coached by a man who has made every post a winner so far in his career and has this uncanny knack of getting the best out of people. Or, by a group hurting from not getting over the line and proving to everyone they are the best in the world, full of experience and cohesion, grit and motivation. You only need to look at someone like Patrick Tuipulotu to see someone with a fire under his belly from missing out on the last RWC due to injury, and having lost to this opposition in the previous one. It will be very interesting to see how this ‘Razor’ plays it. Does he stick with the traditional and protect the time honored All Black values of commitment, or does he evolve and pick the best players to win the Rugby Championship - and by association this test series - like Akira Ioane?

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FEATURE Buoyant England travel to New Zealand full of hope but are they walking into an All Blacks ambush? Buoyant England travel to New Zealand full of hope but are they walking into an All Blacks ambush?
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