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France tweak team for Ireland clash

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: France head coach Fabien Galthie made two changes on Friday to his side for this weekend’s Six Nations game with Ireland.

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Toulouse flank Francois Cros comes in for Lyon’s Dylan Cretin, who drops to the bench to host the side third in the world rankings on Saturday.

“The performance against Italy. The contents of training over the past two and a half weeks and the opposition,” Galthie told reporters

“Ireland’s attack, their strategy as their defence. Those are the elements of why we’ve gone with this back-row,” he added.

Bordeaux-Begles’ 21-year-old Yoram Moefana replaces the injured Jonathan Danty in midfield, after he suffered an ankle injury in last Sunday’s win over Italy.

Moefana made the first of his three Test appearances in November 2020.

“He has a lot of experience with us,” Galthie said.

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“He has a team of guys around him of 22 players who will make sure he his himself and he brings out all his talent, because he has a lot,” he added.

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton will miss the trip to the Stade de France with a hamstring injury and is replaced by Joey Carbery, making his 29th international appearance.

Sexton’s side are unbeaten in nine Tests, a run including last weekend’s win over Wales and November’s victory over the All Blacks.

“We worked on Ireland and prepared for the game with him at flyhalf. What we saw against Wales and New Zealand he was their playmaker, their lead, their captain,” Galthie said.

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“We think this team are very structured, they have a very serene gameplan, they will keep that style of attack.

“We imagine they will keep the same fundamentals, attack and defence-wise despite the absence of Johnny Sexton,” he added.

Toulouse’s Thibaud Flament is among the substitutes as Galthie prefers an extra forward among his replacements.

“There’s a forward pack there that is ready to attack the second half. They’ll bring their energy, they’re very compact, they’ll warm up together,” Galthie said.

“We have them, who we call ‘finishers’ which will allow us to win the second half and the final 20 minutes,” he added.

France: 15 Melvyn Jaminet, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Yoram Moefana, 11 Gabin Villiere, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont (captain), 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Anthony Jelonch, 6 Francois Cros, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Cameron Woki, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille.
Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Thibaud Flament, 21 Dylan Cretin, 22 Maxime Lucu, 23 Thomas Ramos.

Date: Saturday, February 12
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 17.45 (16.45 UK & Ireland time; 16.45 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

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