British & Irish Lions

France's Penaud ruled out of England Six Nations opener

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

Paris - France winger Damian Penaud will miss this weekend's Six Nations game with England due to a calf injury, the French Rugby Federation said on Saturday.

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Penaud, 23, who was named to start Les Bleus' opening game of the tournament in Paris on Sunday, is replaced by three-time international Vincent Rattez in the line-up.

Earlier, team manager Raphael Ibanez said Penaud had sustained the problem during the eve-of-match training session.

"He had a muscle problem at the start of the session so he's undergoing tests and we will see what the results from the tests will be," Ibanez said at a press conference.

"We hope the results won't be too significant," he added.

Toulouse full-back Thomas Ramos or Montpellier centre Arthur Vincent could take Rattez's place on the bench.

England attack coach Simon Amor said he was prepared for the "wonderful threats" among France's three-quarters.

Amor, 40, who replaced Australian Scott Wisemantel after the Rugby World Cup final defeat last year, will see his side line up against the in-form Virimi Vakatawa and Teddy Thomas.

"Certainly we're well aware of the wonderful threats that the French backline possesses, particularly in broken field play," Amor said.

"If we give them space we know how dangerous and capable they are. It's really important that we don't give them that space, that we maintain a real tight composure around them," he added.

Former England and Team GB sevens head coach Amor praised centre Vakatawa, who featured for France in the shorter form of the sport at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

The Racing 92 midfielder has crossed seven times in 10 games for his club this season in his third campaign back in the longer format of the game.

"He was phenomenal for the French sevens team and was a constant threat. To see the progress and the transition he has made and to take that attacking threat into the 15-a-side game has been excellent," Amor said.

"He is a danger man and is playing well at the moment as well. We're well aware of that. We have some great players ourselves. We think we're able to contain him," he added.

Teams:

France

15 Anthony Bouthier, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Damian Penaud, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Grégory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon (captain), 6 François Cros, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 3 Mohamed Haouas, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille

Substitutes: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Jefferson Poirot, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Boris Palu, 20 Cameron Woki, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Matthieu Jalibert, 23 Vincent Rattez

England

15 George Furbank, 14 Jonny May, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Tom Curry, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Joe Marler

Substitutes: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 George Kruis, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Ollie Devoto, 23 Jonathan Joseph

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England 81/3 (31.2 ov)
West Indies 0
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