What We Learned from France’s team announcement

It is all to play for between France and Wales when the two sides meet at Principality Stadium to bring Super Saturday and the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations to a close.

It is all to play for between France and Wales when the two sides meet at Principality Stadium to bring Super Saturday and the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations to a close.

Wales start Super Saturday second on 11 points and know that finishing behind Ireland is in their own hands against a France side that have won their last two.

Click here for the complete 2018 NatWest 6 Nations fixture list

Jacques Brunel has made three changes to the side that beat England in Paris last weekend as he looks to maintain their good form and here’s what we learned from his selections.   FRONT ROW CHANGES

With captain Guilhem Guirado injured, Brunel has brought in Bordeaux Begles hooker Adrien Pelissie into the starting line-up for his fifth cap.

Pelissie will make his first France start in Cardiff having made his debut off the bench against Ireland and featuring as a replacement in every Championship game since.

Guirado leaves big shoes to fill for Pelissie, the captain has started 38 of France’s last 44 internationals and has made 69 tackles in the Championship to date.

Only Jonny Gray (80) has made more in the NatWest 6 Nations so Pelissie will need to be doing his work around the park as well as at the set piece.   GOMES SA PROMOTED

Cedate Gomes Sa starts at tighthead prop in place of Rabah Slimani, who is dropped to the bench for the clash against Wales by Jacques Brunel.

Gomes Sa, like Pelissie, came off the bench to make his debut in Round One and has been pushing for selection from the replacements since then.

Against Wales he has his chance at tighthead prop alongside Pelissie and Jefferson Poirot in the new-look French front row.


Full-back Bonneval drops out of the matchday 23 for Brunel with Gael Fickou coming onto the wing and Benjamin Fall switching to full-back.

Bonneval started against Italy, where he scored a try, and England but is replaced by the experienced Fickou who will earn his 35th cap for France in Wales.

Fickou has made two substitute appearances for France in the Championship this year and this will be the first time he starts.

Fall will make his fourth appearance in the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations in Cardiff but this will be his first at full-back having started on the wing against Italy and England.

The 29-year-old made his debut back in 2009 scoring a try against Samoa but had made just five further international appearances before this year’s Championship.   CAPTAIN BASTAREAUD

Mathieu Bastareaud has won both the Championship games he’s been involved with and has had a mighty impact in the France midfield.

After missing the defeats to Ireland and Scotland, the 29-year-old has stepped up and put in a stunning performance against Italy before helping Brunel’s side beat England in La Crunch.

The centre has been captain of Toulon this season and he will link up with Geoffrey Doumayrou in midfield once again.


Camille Chat is brought in as replacement hooker with Pelissie starting while Castres’ Mathieu Babillot preparing for his first international cap.

Babillot recently signed a new contract at his club until 2022, he has been at Castres for almost a decade having come through the club’s youth system.

The former France Under-20 was appointed vice-captain at the start of the current season and is seen as a big player for Castres in the near future.

The No.23 jersey has gone to another Castres player in Geoffrey Palis over Bonneval as he is recalled to the squad after starting in defeat to Scotland and Ireland.