British & Irish Lions

France wing to miss Italy Six Nations visit

Damian Penaud (Getty Images)
Damian Penaud (Getty Images)

Paris - Wing Damian Penaud has been ruled out of rejuvenated France's Six Nations game against Italy this weekend and is a doubt to face Wales later this month, head coach Fabien Galthie said on Monday.

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Penaud, 23, suffered a calf strain in a training session a day before Sunday's exhilarating 24-17 victory over England and is expected be sidelined for two weeks.

Montpellier's uncapped Yvan Reilhac stays with the squad having originally replaced Stade Francais' Kylian Hamdaoui who returns to the set-up.

"Yvan has already worked with us last week. So we judged it alright to keep him," Galthie said.

In other changes Lyon scrum-half Baptiste Couilloud comes in for Maxime Lucu after he recovered from a shoulder injury suffered playing for his club in December.

There's also fitness doubt surrounding rookie Clermont back-rower Alexandre Fischer who has a thigh issue.

Galthie, a former les Bleus captain, said he would refrain from making too many adjustments to his side for Sunday's visit of the Azzurri, who were hammered 42-0 by Wales in the opening game of the tournament last weekend.

"The idea is to build a squad. Caps are worth gold. The idea is to cap players, improve their abilities, a cap has a high price. Changing for changing's sake is not our strategy," Galthie said.

"We don't talk about rivalry, we talk about healthy competition, we talk about cooperation," he added.

Galthie is set to name his team to face Franco Smith's men on Friday.

France's vibrant victory over England kicked off a new era under Galthie who took over full-time after France's quarter-final exit at the World Cup in Japan last year.

Two first half tries by Vincent Rattez captain Charles Ollivon, along with two conversions and a penalty from Romain Ntamack handed the home side, powered magnificently around the pitch by scrumhalf Antoine Dupont, a 17-0 half-time lead.

A second converted Ollivon try extended France's lead but World Cup runners-up England hit back with a Jonny May brace of tries both converted by Owen Farrell.

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