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'Satisfied' France unchanged for crunch Wales clash

Second-row Romain Taofifenua, fly-half Matthieu Jalibert and flanker Dylan Cretin keep their places.

Fabien Galthie (file pic).
Fabien Galthie (file pic).
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

FRANCE COACH Fabien Galthie said he named an unchanged side on Thursday to host Wales in a potential Six Nations Grand Slam decider this weekend because he was “satisfied” with the loss to England.

Second-row Romain Taofifenua, fly-half Matthieu Jalibert and flanker Dylan Cretin keep their places after the defeat for Saturday’s match at the Stade de France.

The visitors can claim a second tournament clean sweep in three years with a win in Paris.

“We’re very satisfied with the performance of the team in generally. We’re very satisfied with the potential of this team too,” Galthie said.

“In Twickenham, we felt a lot potential and strength in this team and what we need to do a week later is to bounce back against Wales with the potential that is at the heart of this team,” he added.

The ex-Test captain stuck with Jalibert, Taofifenua and Cretin in favour of Romain Ntamack and Anthony Jelonch, and Swann Rebbadj who are on the substitutes’ bench.

There are three new faces among the reserves as Galthie reverted to five forwards and three backs.

Prop Uini Atonio comes in for Dorian Aldegheri, Rebbadj replaces the injured Cyril Cazeaux and flanker Cameron Woki drops out for centre Arthur Vincent.

Regular lock Bernard Le Roux, who was expected to return to the bench, was left out after failing to recover sufficiently from the thigh injury that caused him to miss the England game.

Galthie’s men need a bonus-point victory and to beat Scotland in a re-scheduled fixture next Friday to clinch the title for a first time since 2010.

The former Les Bleus scrum-half said his side’s goal is to win the fixture before looking for the four tries or more for the additional points in the table.

“It doesn’t change much in our preparation. The focus is on this match, is to perform well against this opposition and to win the game,” he said. 

“Then there will be elements to consider.”

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France team (to play Wales):

15. Brice Dulin
14. Damian Penaud
13. Virimi Vakatawa
12. Gael Fickou
11. Teddy Thomas
10. Matthieu Jalibert
9. Antoine Dupont

1. Cyril Baille
2. Julian Marchand
3. Mohamed Haouas
4. Romain Taofifénua
5. Paul Willemse
6. Dylan Cretin
7. Charles Ollivon (captain)
8. Gregory Alldritt

Replacements:

16. Camille Chat
17. Jean-Baptiste Gros
18. Uini Atonio
19. Swann Rebbadj
20. Anthony Jelonch
21. Baptiste Serin
22. Romain Ntamack
23. Arthur Vincent

© – AFP, 2021

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