Ntamack gets pivot role against All Blacks
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Romain Ntamack will start at flyhalf for this weekend’s Test with New Zealand after featuring at centre throughout November, Fabien Galthie said on Thursday.
Ntamack, 22, replaces Matthieu Jalibert in the No. 10 shirt with the Bordeaux-Begles playmaker dropping to the bench for Saturday’s dress rehearsal for the opening game of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
There are four other changes from last Sunday’s win over Georgia with hooker Julien Marchand and flanker Sekou Macalou injured.
Marchand’s club teammate Peato Mauvaka starts in the front-row with another Toulouse forward Francois Cros in the back-row.
Montpellier lock Paul Willemse comes in for Romain Taofifenua and Toulon winger Gabin Villiere replaces Matthis Lebel, who made his debut last weekend.
France: 15 Melvyn Jaminet, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Gabin Villiere; 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont (captain); 8 Gregory Alldrit, 7 Anthony Jelonch, 6 Francois Cros; 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Cameron Woki; 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Peato Mauvaka, 1 Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16 Gaetan Barlot, 17 Jean-Baptise Gros, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Thibaud Flament, 21 Dylan Cretin, 22 Maxime Lucu, 23 Matthieu Jalibert
Date: Saturday, November 20
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 21.00 (20.00 GMT; 09.00 Sunday, November 21 NZT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Luke Pearce (England), Karl Dickson (England)
TMO: Stuart Terheege (England)