FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union – Six Nations Championship – Wales v France – Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, UK – February 22, 2020 France’s Romain Ntamack celebrates at the end of the game Action Images via Reuters / Peter Cziborra
PARIS : Mercurial Romain Ntamack has been returned to the flyhalf position to renew his half-back partnership with captain Antoine Dupont when France face New Zealand in the final international match of the international autumn series at the Stade de France on Saturday.
Ntamack started of the month in test wins against Argentina and Georgia in the inner center to enable coach Fabien Galthie to use Matthieu Jalibert in the number 10 shirt. The latter falls on the bench.
“We had two tests to try this association (by Ntamack and Jalibert) and after a dozen training sessions and these two tests we decided to change our line-up,” said Galthie on Thursday to reporters.
“Gael Fickou and Jonathan Danty have a lot of experience together at the center and Romain and Antoine have experience together too. So this is the formula we chose to start the game. It’s a performance-based choice, not a standard choice . “
Danty takes Ntamack’s place in the center, where he becomes Fickou’s partner, while the Gabin Villiere and Damian Penaud three-man chain consists of wings with Melvyn Jaminet as full-back.
France could revert to their tactics, Giving up possession, a strategy Galthie uses to “find space”.
“Sometimes giving up possession makes sense, sometimes it’s the smartest thing to do. Our goal is t it to surprise the opponent’s defense and give him the feeling that he has no guarantees. “
Francois Cros replaces Sekou Makalou in the loose striker, with Anthony Jelonch changing from the jersey with the number six to seven and Gregory Alldritt at the end of the scrum.
“We have a good balance in the third row,” said Galthie. “They are seasoned players with a lot of character.”
Paul Willemse is called back to partner Cameron Woki, while the front row consists of props Uini Atonio and Cyril Baille and hooker Peato Mauvaka who unites after a brilliant performance against Georgia Place in the starting XI after he injured Julien Marchand.
France beat Argentina 29:20 and Georgia 41:15 in the fall series, but Saturday’s challenge will be a significant step forward. </ Their last home win against the All Blacks was a 42:33 win in Marseille in 2000, while their previous win was in Paris in 1973.
New Zealand lost 29:20 to Ireland last weekend but Galthie prevailed insisted that Les Bleus wouldn’t copy the Irish.
“It was a different game … we are France, not Ireland,” he said. “We have our own story that we started two years ago. Our opponents will not be the same as they were in Dublin last year.”
Team: 15-Melvyn Jaminet, 14-Damian Penaud, 13-Gael Fickou, 12-Jonathan Danty, 11-Gabin Villiere, 10-Romain Ntamack, 9-Antoine Dupont (captain); 8-Gregory Alldritt, 7-Anthony Jelonch, 6-Francois Cros, 5-Paul Willemse, 4-Cameron Woki, 3-Uini Atonio, 2-Peato Mauvaka, 1-Cyril Baille
Replacement: 16-Gaetan Barlot, 17-Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18-Demba Bamba, 19-Romain Taofifenua, 20-Thibaud Flament, 21-Dylan Cretin, 22-Maxime Lucu, 23-Matthieu Jalibert.
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