Wed 30 Jan 2019 | 09:33

France coach springs selection suprise for Wales clash

France coach springs selection suprise for Wales clash
Wed 30 Jan 2019 | 09:33
France coach springs selection suprise for Wales clash
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: France coach Jacques Brunel has unveiled his team for Friday’s Six Nations opener against Wales in Paris.

In a surprise move, France vice-captain Mathieu Bastareaud has been left out of Brunel’s matchday 23 with the uncapped Romain Ntamack named in the starting XV.

The 19-year-old Ntamack, who was part of France’s Under-20s World Cup-winning side, wins his first cap alongside Wesley Fofana in the midfield.

Ntamack, the son of former Les Bleus wing Emile, has become a regular for Toulouse this year and is the youngest player in any Six Nations squad this year.

The backline also sees Morgan Parra and Camille Lopez reunited for France in the halfback pairing for the first time since the 2015 Championship.

South African-born Paul Willemse, who qualifies for his adopted country on residency grounds after spending more than three years with Top 14 clubs Montpellier and Grenoble, is also included.

Guilhem Guirado will captain the side as part of a front row that includes Jefferson Poirot and Uini Antonio, with Sébastian Vahaamahina and Willemse in the engine room.

Wenceslas Lauret, Arthur Iturria and Louis Picamoles complete the pack, while Maxime Médard, Damian Penaud and Yoann Huget will also start the opener against Warren Gatland’s side.

La Rochelle’s Grégory Alldritt is named on the bench and could be the third debutant for Les Bleus in the encounter.

France: 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Wesley Fofana, 12 Romain Ntamack, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Louis PIcamoles, 7 Arthur Iturria, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Jefferson Poirot.
Replacements: 16 Julien Marchand, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Felix Lambey, 20 Gregory Alldritt, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Gael Fickou, 23 Geoffrey Doumayrou.

Date: Friday, February 1
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 21.00 (20.00 UK & Ireland time; 20.00 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Matthew Carley (England), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

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France Coach Springs Selection Suprise For Wales Clash - France | Rugby365