Fabien Galthie names unchanged starting line-up for France’s clash with Ireland

France head coach Fabien Galthie has named an unchanged starting XV for Saturday’s crunch Guinness Six Nations clash with Ireland.

The reigning Grand Slam champions travel to Dublin after beginning the championship with an unconvincing 29-24 success away to Italy.

Despite surviving a scare in Rome, Galthie has kept faith with his team going into a potential title decider at the Aviva Stadium.

His only changes come on the bench where Toulouse back-rower Francois Cros and Lyon scrum-half Baptiste Couilloud replace La Rochelle lock Thomas Lavault and Racing 92 number nine Nolann Le Garrec.

“Ireland are one of the best adversaries we have played but that will not prevent us being ambitious on Saturday,” said Galthie.

“Today Ireland is the best team in the world. When you watch Ireland play you are watching Leinster – there is this attacking style of rugby which is recognised as being remarkable in the rugby world.

“And they have other qualities, wonderful players and above all a deep well of talent that they refresh regularly.

Antoine Dupont, centre, will once again captain reigning Grand Slam champions France
Antoine Dupont, centre, will once again captain reigning Grand Slam champions France (Adam Davy/PA)

“It is a remarkable achievement by the Irish federation, of the four provinces, of their academies, one cannot but congratulate them.”

Captain Antoine Dupont will once again lead his country, continuing his half-back partnership with Toulouse team-mate Romain Ntamack.

Les Bleus are bidding for a 15th successive victory to put themselves in pole position to retain the Six Nations title.

Galthie’s men have won all three previous meetings with Andy Farrell’s Ireland and are the only visiting team to triumph in Dublin since the 2019 World Cup – a 15-13 success in 2021.

“We have gone with the same personnel due to the performance firstly, the victory with a bonus, therefore they achieved their target,” Galthie said of his selection.

“Coherence too as it is three weeks that we have worked with this group, and finally confidence because we have confidence in our players who for three years have progressed together.

“That is why there are no surprises in the starting XV nor in the replacements.”

France team: T Ramos (Toulouse); D Penaud (Clermont), G Fickou (Racing 92), Y Moefana (Bordeaux), E Dumortier (Lyon); R Ntamack (Toulouse), A Dupont (Toulouse, capt); C Baille (Toulouse), J Marchand (Toulouse), U Atonio (La Rochelle), T Flament (Toulouse), P Willemse (Montpellier), A Jelonch (Toulouse), C Ollivon (Toulon), G Alldritt (La Rochelle).

Replacements: G Barlot (Castres), R Wardi (La Rochelle), S Falatea (Bordeaux), R Taofifenua (Lyon), F Cros (Toulouse), S Macalou (Stade Francais), B Couilloud (Lyon), M Jalibert (Bordeaux).