A French XV renewed identically to face England at the end of the Six Nations

You don't change a team that has turned its head around

A French XV renewed identically to face England at the end of the Six Nations

You don't change a team that has turned its head around. Four days after the convincing victory of the French XV in Cardiff, against Wales (45-24), the French coach, Fabien Galthié, chose to keep the exact structure of his team to face England, Saturday 16 March in Lyon (9 p.m.), closing the Six Nations Tournament.

Thursday March 14 at a press conference, the French coach justified his decision to bring back all 23 players from the trip to Cardiff by “first the performance of last weekend, then the fact that there was no no injured players, and finally it allows us to go faster in preparation. » Because six days after relaunching their moribund Tournament – ​​inaugural defeat against Ireland, narrow victory in Scotland and poor draw at home against Italy – his troops are approaching “a summit” against a rediscovered England.

The semi-finalists of the last World Cup in France – eliminated by one point, like the Blues, by South Africa – found color after several years in the tough, embodied by Saturday March 9, Steve Borthwick's men shattered the Irish dreams of a second grand slam in a row, by winning against the XV of Clover on a drop in the final seconds from opener Marcus Smith (23-22). “It’s a team full of confidence which is in the process of becoming the great England team again,” underlined Fabien Galthié on Thursday. And who should have a vengeful spirit, a year after their rout in their Twickenham den against France (55-10).

The Blues are fighting for second place in the Tournament

To face the Rose, the Lotois technician therefore chose continuity. A week after having largely shaken up his group – even having shaken it after a poor start to the Tournament – ​​Fabien Galthié kept the same starting XV and bench to complete the continental competition. After making a convincing start, the three Cardiff novices, Léo Barré (21 years old) at the back, Nicolas Depoortère (21 years old) in the center and Emmanuel Meafou (25 years old) in the second row, are renewed. Just like Thibaud Flament in the second line, or the new hinge tested in Wales, Thomas Ramos - Nolann Le Garrec. “They brought a lot of energy” during the victory in Cardiff, greeted the French coach.

For the rest, as is often the case, Stade Toulouse is the most represented team in the French XV, with six starters – Thomas Ramos at the opening, Emmanuel Meafou and Thibaud Flament in the second row, the third row François Cros, and the pillar Cyril Baille and the hooker Julien Marchand -, two substitutes (the hooker Peato Mauvaka and the second or third row Alexandre Roumat), and as many reserves (the pillar Dorian Aldegheri and the winger Matthis Lebel).

Currently in fourth place in the Six Nations Tournament, captain Gregory Alldritt's partners can still finish in second place in the prestigious European competition if they win on Saturday. Or even supplant Ireland for an unexpected victory in the Tournament, in the event of a very improbable alignment of planets.

Léo Barré – Damian Penaud, Gaël Fickou, Nicolas Depoortère, Louis Bielle-Biarrey - (o) Thomas Ramos, (m) Nolann Le Garrec – Charles Ollivon, Gregory Alldritt (cap.), François Cros – Emmanuel Meafou, Thibaud Flament - Uini Atonio, Julien Marchand, Cyril Baille.