Six Nations

SA-born Le Roux back for France's Six Nations decider

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Bernard le Roux. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Bernard le Roux. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Head coach Fabien Galthie compared Bernard le Roux to a "decathlete" on Wednesday as the lock returned to France's starting lineup in five changes for this week's Six Nations decider with Scotland in Paris.

The hosts will lift their first trophy since 2010 by scoring four tries or more in a victory of over 20 points on Friday.

If Les Bleus fail then Wales, who lost at the Stade de France last Saturday, will win the title.

South African-born Le Roux, 31, missed two games with a thigh injury and replaces Romain Taofifenua in a new-look second-row with Swann Rebbadj starting for the first time instead of the banned Paul Willemse.

"Bernard is a type of decathlete. He's very active and super present on the field be that defensively or in attack," Galthie said.

"He does a lot of jobs. He's very experienced and counts a lot for us since we took over the project," he added.

Castres' Anthony Jelonch comes in for Dylan Cretin at openside flanker for a fixture re-scheduled from late-February after a Covid-19 outbreak in the France set-up.

Jelonch impressed in last weekend's victory after coming on for the final half an hour.

"It's true that Anthony took part in the end of the match where he was precious with and without the ball," Galthie said.

"I'm always looking for balance. The balance consists of finding the good mix between power on the floor and in the air and the presence there," he added.

Thomas' defence

Among the backs, flyhalf Romain Ntamack is in with Matthieu Jalibert out with a face injury while centre Arthur Vincent replaces Teddy Thomas with Gael Fickou moving to the wing.

Former Test captain Galthie denied the decision was down to Thomas' poor display without the ball.

"It's not at all linked to defence. Teddy brings all his talent, potential and speed to make the difference with ball in hand," Galthie said.

"He's also present in our defensive organisation. He brings all he has to the team. Instead of talking about a lack of something I'd prefer to talk about healthy competition and competence."

Kick-off is at 22:00 (SA time) on Friday.

Teams:

France

15 Brice Dulin, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Arthur Vincent, 11 Gael Fickou, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon (captain), 6 Anthony Jelonch, 5 Swann Rebbadj, 4 Bernard le Roux, 3 Mohamed Haouas, 2 Julian Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille

Substitutes: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18 Uini Atonio, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Dylan Cretin, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Anthony Bouthier, 23 Teddy Thomas

Scotland

15 Stuart Hogg (captain), 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Sam Skinner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Rory Sutherland

Substitutes: 16 David Cherry, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Alex Craig, 20 Nick Haining, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Huw Jones

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