British & Irish Lions

Galthie names 9 from World Cup defeat for Six Nations opener

Teddy Thomas (AFP)
Teddy Thomas (AFP)

Paris - New France head coach Fabien Galthie on Thursday named nine survivors from the Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat by Wales in the starting XV for the weekend's Six Nations opener against England.

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Former Les Bleus captain Galthie, who took over from Jacques Brunel after the tournament last year, kept faith with half-backs Romain Ntamack and Antoine Dupont as well as the centre pairing of Virimi Vakatawa and Gael Fickou.

"It was the partnership for the World Cup, and one can say during the World Cup, the 9-10 axis, as well as with the centres and the wingers were fully satisfactory," Galthie said.

"We need continuity as we build this team. We count on them to continue to work and develop the potential in our team," the 50-year-old added.

Loose-head prop Jefferson Poirot drops to the bench, one of three further survivors from the World Cup along with Baptiste Serin and Vincent Rattez.

Galthie handed Test debuts to tight-head prop Mohamed Haouas and fullback Anthony Bouthier who replace the experienced Rabah Slimani and Maxime Medard, neither of whom were considered for selection.

"At the position of tight-head prop we lacked certainty. We had to make a choice between two players (Haouas and Demba Bamba) who have very little experience," Galthie said.

"We asked ourselves (the coaching staff) questions. We'll have the answer on Sunday," he added.

There are a further pair of international rookies on the bench in lock Boris Palu and back-rower Cameron Woki.

Flanker Charles Ollivon captains the side following Guilhem Guirado's retirement.

South-African born lock Paul Willemse and winger Teddy Thomas return to the side after missing the competition in Japan.

Teams

France

15 Anthony Bouthier; 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Damian Penaud; 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

Substitutes: Peato Mauvaka, Jefferson Poirot, Demba Bamba, Boris Palu, Cameron Woki, Baptiste Serin, Mathieu Jalibert, Vincent Rattez

England

TBA

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