France have announced their starting XV to play Wales at the Stade De France in Paris on Friday night and it’s a team blended with youth and experience.
Jacque Brunel has given two debutants in the side 19 year old centre Romain Ntamack. He will come in to the side in place of Mathieu Bastareaud who was left out of the squad by the coach. Paul Willemse will also make his international rugby debut for Les Bleus and he will start at lock. Going on statistics France are going to struggle here seen they have only beaten Warren Gatland’s men once in the last seven years. However, if they play with the flair and exuberance French teams have in the past then anything can happen of course ! France face very difficult away trips to Twickenham to play England and then of course to Ireland at the Aviva Stadium. They could struggle in this campaign as Scotland and Italy will also be no push overs.
Looking at the team in the backs Maxime Medard is at full back, while on the wings the experienced Yohann Huget and Damian Penaud are due to start. The centre partnership will see the afore mentioned Ntamack partner another experienced head Wesley Fofana. Camille Lopez starts at fly half, with Morgan Parra at scrum half. In the backs Louis Picamoles is at number 8 for the French men, Arthur Iturria is named alongside Wenceslas Lauret. The second row sees Willemse given his chance alongside Sebastian Vahaamahina. The front row trio sees Uini Atonio, captain Guilheim Guirado and Jefferson Poirot.
Ntamack in my eyes has the potential to be a top class player he comes from good pedigree as his father a former French players and ex assistant coach Emile was also a superb player. Ntamack has been key to Toulouses success in the Top 14 in French rugby this season and he has now been given his chance by Brunel to show his ability against Wales who are expected to announce their side on Wednesday afternoon.
France: Maxime Medard, Damian Penaud, Wesley Fofana, Romain Ntamack, Yoann Huget, Camille Lopez, Morgan Parra; Louis PIcamoles, Arthur Iturria, Wenceslas Lauret, Paul Willemse, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Uini Atonio, Guilhem Guirado (capt), Jefferson Poirot.
Replacements: Julien Marchand, Dany Priso, Demba Bamba, Felix Lambey, Gregory Alldritt, Baptiste Serin, Gael Fickou, Geoffrey Doumayrou.