France bank on South African muscle for Wales clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: France coach Fabien Galthie has revealed his team to face Wales on Saturday ahead of the end of the Six Nations.
Galthie’s men welcome Wayne Pivac’s team to Paris in a Test match, a week before a potential tournament decider against Ireland which was rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Les Bleus’ players will only be allowed to play a maximum of three matches each during the six-game campaign after the French Rugby Federation and the French league came to an agreement last week over player availability away from club duty.
South African-born duo Paul Willemse and Bernard le Roux will give France plenty of muscle after being selected in the second row for Saturday’s match.
Tighthead Mohamed Haouas keeps his place after serving his suspension for punching Jamie Ritchie at Murrayfield.
Jean-Baptiste Gros takes the place of the retired Jefferson Poirot at loosehead prop from the loss at Scotland in March.
In the backline, Wing Teddy Thomas replaces the injured Damian Penaud.
Penaud is suffering from an ankle problem, Vincent Rattez comes in for Arthur Vincent as Gael Fickou reverts to centre.
France will face Fiji, Italy and Scotland in a newly-created Nations Cup in November which has replaced the international matches originally scheduled for next month.
France: 15 Anthony Bouthier, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Vincent Rattez, 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 Camille Chat, 17 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Dylan Cretin, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Thomas Ramos, 23 Arthur Vincent.
Date: Saturday, October 24
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 21:00 (20:00 BST, 19:00 GMT)
Referee: Karl Dickson (England)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy, Ian Tempest
TMO: Brian MacNeice