Spotlight on Lucu as Galthié reveals French team to face Italy
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: France head coach Fabien Galthié has named his 23-man matchday squad for Friday’s Pool A game against Italy in Lyon.
Maxime Lucu starts at scrumhalf in place of injured captain Antoine Dupont.
Grégory Alldritt returns to the starting back row in place of Francois Cros, who moves to the bench, and Louis Bielle-Biarrey again gets the nod over Gabin Villiere on the left wing.
Charles Ollivon will captain the team from the start for the first time since November 2022 against Japan in Toulouse, and the 14th time in his career.
This will be only the third time since Antoine Dupont made his international debut in 2017 that France have played against Italy without him. He missed their 34-17 victory in 2018 in Marseille and 36-5 victory in Paris in November 2020.
Matthieu Jalibert has been named at flyhalf after scoring the match-winning try against Italy in February in the Six Nations as a replacement. He partners Lucu in the halves for the first time since their two-test tour of Japan in July 2022.
France: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Louis Bielle-Biarrey, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Maxime Lucu, 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon (captain), 6 Anthony Jelonch, 5 Thibaud Flament, 4 Cameron Woki, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Peato Mauvaka, 1 Cyril Baille.
Replacements: 16 Pierre Bourgarit, 17 Reda Wardi, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Francois Cros, 21 Baptiste Couilloud, 22 Yoram Moefana, 23 Melvyn Jaminet.
Date: Friday, October 6
Venue: OL Stadium, Lyon
Kick-off: 21.00 (19.00 GMT; 21.00 CEST)
Referee: Karl Dickson (England)
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce (England), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)