Galthie names 12 World Cup stars
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: New France coach Fabien Galthie on Thursday named nine survivors from the World Cup quarterfinal defeat to Wales in the starting XV for the weekend’s Six Nations opener against England.
Former Les Bleus captain Galthie, who took over from Jacques Brunel after the tournament last year, kept faith with halfbacks Romain Ntamack (No.10) and Antoine Dupont (No.9) as well as the centre pairing of Virimi Vakatawa and Gael Fickou.
Loosehead prop Jefferson Poirot drops to the bench, one of three further survivors from the World Cup along with Baptiste Serin and Vincent Rattez.
Galthie handed Test debuts to tighthead prop Mohamed Haouas and fullback Anthony Bouthier who replace the experienced Rabah Slimani and Maxime Medard, neither of whom were considered for selection.
There are a further pair of international rookies on the bench in lock Boris Palu and back-rower Cameron Woki.
Flank Charles Ollivon captains the side following Guilhem Guirado’s retirement.
South-African born lock Paul Willemse and wing Teddy Thomas return to the side after missing the competition in Japan.
France: 15 Anthony Bouthier, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Damian Penaud, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon (captain), 6 Francois Cros, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 3 Mohamed Haouas, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille.
Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Jefferson Poirot, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Boris Palu, 20 Cameron Woki, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Mathieu Jalibert, 23 Vincent Rattez.
Date: Sunday, February 2
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 16.00 (15.00 UK time; 15.00 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)