France 'bulk up' for Twickenham showdown
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: France has added significant ‘bulk’ to their team for their Six Nations encounter with England on Sunday.
Coach Jacques Brunel has made six changes to his starting line-up.
Three of those changes come in the backs, where Mathieu Bastareaud and Geoffrey Doumayrou are reunited in the midfield – the same pairing who helped beat England in Paris last year.
The other change in the backs comes on the wing, where Gaël Fickou, who came on as a replacement against Wales last week, is installed on the wing, with Yoann Huget moving to fullback.
In the forwards, prop Demba Bamba comes into the front row in place of the injured Uini Atonio, while lock Felix Lambey gets the nod ahead of Paul Willemse.
Bamba and Lambey will both be making their first-ever Test starts.
In the back row, Yacouba Camara is at No.6 in place of Wenceslas Lauret, while there are also changes on the bench.
Romain Ntamack drops to the replacements, as does Willemse, where they’re joined by in-form Toulouse scrumhalf Antoine Dupont.
Pierre Bourgarit replaces Julien Marchand, while Thomas Ramos and Dorian Aldegheri are in line to make their debuts if they take to the field.
France: 15 Yoann Huget, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Gaël Fickou, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Arthur Iturria, 6 Yacouba Camara, 5 Félix Lambey, 4 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 3 Demba Bamba, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Jefferson Poirot.
Replacements: 16 Pierre Bourgarit, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Paul Willemse, 20 Gregory Alldritt, 21 Antoine Dupont, 22 Romain Ntamack, 23 Thomas Ramos.
Date: Sunday, February 10
Venue: Twickenham, London
Kick-off: 15.00 (16.00 French time; 15.00 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)
— FF Rugby (@FFRugby) February 8, 2019