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Two uncapped players in fresh-faced France side

Two uncapped players in fresh-faced France side

Antoine Dupont will start alongside club colleague Romain Ntamack. ©Inpho

  • Montpellier duo Anthony Bouthier and Mohamed Haouas make their debuts at full-back and tighthead respectively
  • Charles Ollivon captain for the first time
  • Core of World Cup backline remains including Dupont-Ntamack half-back pairing

Fabien Galthié has named two debutants in his France team as Charles Ollivon leads a young side in their Guinness Six Nations opener against England in Paris on Sunday.

Mohamed Haouas starts at tighthead prop, while his Montpellier colleague Anthony Bouthier gets the nod at full-back, with a further two uncapped players among the replacements.

Racing 92’s Boris Palu and Bordeaux-Bègles’ Cameron Woki could make their Test bows if they come off the bench.

While it is a young side, the core of the team remains from the World Cup, with Ollivon captaining in the back row alongside Grégory Alldritt, with the pair joined by François Cros to form the same trio that impressed against Scotland in a warm-up match in Nice.

Julien Marchand makes his first Test start at hooker, with Guilhem Guirado retired and Camille Chat having pulled out through injury, and is joined by Toulouse teammate Cyril Baille in the front row.

Bernard Le Roux continues in the second row alongside Paul Willemse, with Palu offering cover off the bench.

The backline has a familiar feel as Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack make up the half-back pairing, while Gaël Fickou and Virimi Vakatawa slot into the midfield.

Damian Penaud keeps his place on the wing, with Racing’s Teddy Thomas back to start opposite him.

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The bench has some experience alongside the uncapped duo, Jefferson Poirot and Baptiste Serin both included, while Demba Bamba and Peato Mauvaka will look to build on their first steps in international rugby last season.

Matthieu Jalibert is also rewarded for his fine form since recovering from a knee injury with a spot among the replacements, alongside La Rochelle back-three flyer Vincent Rattez.

France open their campaign against England in Paris on Sunday, as they look to kick off the Galthié era with a win.

France team to face England

15. Anthony Bouthier (Montpellier)
14. Teddy Thomas (Racing 92)
13. Virimi Vakatawa (Racing 92)
12. Gaël Fickou (Stade Français)
11. Damian Penaud (Clermont)
10. Romain Ntamack (Toulouse)
9. Antoine Dupont (Toulouse)

1. Cyril Baille (Toulouse)
2. Julien Marchand (Toulouse)
3. Mohamed Haouas (Montpellier)
4. Bernard Le Roux (Racing 92)
5. Paul Willemse (Montpellier)
6. François Cros (Toulouse)
7. Charles Ollivon (Toulon) (c)
8. Grégory Alldritt (La Rochelle)

Replacements:

16. Peato Mauvaka (Toulouse)
17. Jefferson Poirot (Bordeaux-Bègles)
18. Demba Bamba (Lyon)
19. Boris Palu (Racing 92)
20. Cameron Woki (Bordeaux-Bègles)
21. Baptiste Serin (Toulon)
22. Matthieu Jalibert (Bordeaux-Bègles)
23. Vincent Rattez (La Rochelle)