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Ntamack starts at ten for France against Pumas

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Ntamack starts at ten for France against Pumas

Ntamack starts at ten for France against Pumas
  • 20-year-old fly-half will also take on kicking duties
  • Guilhem Guirado captains the team in his third World Cup
  • Virimi Vakatawa starts at centre in the absence of Fofana

Romain Ntamack has been given the task of pulling the strings for France after being named at fly-half for their Rugby World Cup opener against Argentina.

The 20-year-old made his debut during the 2019 Guinness Six Nations and has been preferred to Camille Lopez for the No.10 role.

He will link up with club colleague Antoine Dupont, while Guilhem Guirado captains the side at hooker.

Jacques Brunel gave his backing to Ntamack, who will also take on goal-kicking duties against Los Pumas.

He said: “It’s a position where he is comfortable and we have no doubts over his ability. He will be our goal-kicker. He showed during the warm-up matches that goal-kicking did not faze him.

“He trains regularly at kicking and has a good success rate even if he does not kick at goal for his club.”

Elsewhere Virimi Vakatawa starts in the centres with Wesley Fofana out injured, while Arthur Iturria is named in the second row alongside Clermont teammate Sébastien Vahaamahina.

Guirado will be joined in the front row by Jefferson Poirot and Rabah Slimani and the back row is made up for Wenceslas Lauret and Charles Ollivon on the flanks, with Grégory Alldritt at No.8.

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In the backline Gaël Fickou will link up with Vakatawa in the centres, while the back three is made up of Yoann Huget and Damian Penaud on the wings and Maxime Médard at full-back.

On the bench there are three players who did not feature in the warm-up matches, tighthead prop Demba Bamba, lock Bernard le Roux and scrum-half Maxime Machenaud.

Louis Picamoles is also included on the bench, with Brunel hoping that experience among his replacements will help his team in the latter stages of the match.

He added: “We wanted experienced players on the bench because we expect it to be a tight game which comes down to the second half, like many of the matches.

“At scrum-half we have two different profiles. Baptiste Serin is more of a playmaker with a style that resembles Antoine Dupont. Maxime Machenaud manages the game a little more. We took that into account.”

France team to take on Argentina

15. Maxime Médard (Stade Toulousain)
14. Damian Penaud (Clermont Auvergne)
13. Gaël Fickou (Stade Français)
12. Virimi Vakatawa (Racing 92)
11. Yoann Huget (Stade Toulousain)
10. Romain Ntamack (Stade Toulousain)
9. Antoine Dupont (Stade Toulousain)

1. Jefferson Poirot (Bordeaux-Bègles)
2. Guilhem Guirado (Montpellier) (c)
3. Rabah Slimani (Clermont Auvergne)
4. Arthur Iturria (Clermont Auvergne)
5. Sébastien Vahaamahina (Clermont Auvergne)
6. Wenceslas Lauret (Racing 92)
7. Charles Ollivon (RC Toulon)
8. Grégory Alldritt (La Rochelle)

Replacements

16. Camille Chat (Racing 92)
17. Cyrille Baille (Stade Toulousain)
18. Demba Bamba (Lyon)
19. Bernard le Roux (Racing 92)
20. Louis Picamoles (Montpellier)
21. Maxime Machenaud (Racing 92)
22. Camille Lopez (Clermont Auvergne)
23. Thomas Ramos (Stade Toulousain)