Ntamack back at flyhalf for France
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: France coach Jacques Brunel has made 11 changes from the team that played the USA in his starting XV for the Pool C match against Tonga at Kumamoto Stadium on Sunday.
Prop Jefferson Poirot, who captains the team, and scrumhalf Baptiste Serin both scored as replacements against USA on Wednesday.
The selection of Serin and Romain Ntamack at scrumhalf and flyhalf, respectively, means that France have selected their third different halfback partnership at World Cup 2019, and their 16th different halfback partnership in their 43 matches since the World Cup in 2015.
The four players retained from the 33-9 victory in Fukuoka on Wednesday are Camille Chat, Paul Gabrillagues, Sofiane Gitoune and Alivereti Raka.
Poirot and Rabah Slimani are France’s starting props for the 19th time. Thomas Domingo and Nicolas Mas (2010-14) are the previous most settled pair of starting props, playing together 24 times.
After two matches, France have nine points and are in second place in Pool C.
Brunel will name the replacements on Friday.
France: 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Sofiane Guitoune, 11 Alivereti Raka, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Gregorie Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Jefferson Poirot (captain).
Replacements: 16 Guilhem Guirado, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Bernard Le Roux, 20 Yacouba Camara, 21 Antoine Dupont, 22 Camille Lopez, 23 Pierre-Louis Barassi.
Date: Sunday, October 6:
Venue: Kumamoto Stadium, Kumamoto City
Kick-off: 16.45 (07.45 GMT; 09.45 France time; 20.45 Tonga time)
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Matthew Carley (England)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
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