Galthie changes French line-up
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: French coach Fabien Galthié has made one enforced change to his team for their Six Nations Round Two encounter with Italy.
Inexperienced Montpellier centre Arthur Vincent replaces injured Virimi Vakatawa in the only change from the opening victory over England.
Vakatawa, 27, who has scored seven tries for Racing 92 this season, was ruled out earlier in the day with a triceps problem suffered in the thrilling 24-17 win over the World Cup runners-up last Sunday.
Double world Under-20 champion Vincent is set to make his first Test start this Sunday after coming off the bench for the final 30 seconds against England.
Continue reading below …
“He is a player who has the perfect career path. French youth teams, most notably a part of the world champion generations and captain last year,” Galthie said.
“He’s trained really well with us. To put it simply we expect him to be himself, to bring the strong aspects to his play. His maturity and his youth too,” he added.
After Vincent’s promotion Toulon lock Romain Taofifenua comes onto the bench for an unusual 6-2 split between forwards and backs.
“The option had been studied before playing England. We decided in the week to move to 6-2, to bring Romain in to have two second row forwards with more hybrid profiles along with Boris Palu who covers 4,5,6 and 7,” Galthie said.
“Romain for three weeks has shown a big investment and big presence in training. He deserves his place in the team lineup,” he added.
The Azzurri lost 0-42 to Wales in their campaign opener last weekend.
France: 15 Anthony Bouthier, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Arthur Vincent, 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 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Boris Palu, 21 Cameron Woki, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Mathieu Jalibert.
Date: Sunday, February 9
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 16.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)