Rugby-France opt for power game for Scotland decider

·2-min read
Six Nations Championship - England v France

PARIS (Reuters) - France coach Fabien Galthie will ring the changes and turn on the power against Scotland on Friday, when his team will bid for their first Six Nations title since 2010.

Galthie is making five changes to the side that beat Wales last weekend, with Arthur Vincent coming in at centre and Gael Fickou moving to the wing, consigning Teddy Thomas to the bench.

"We needed more density on the flanks," Galthie told a news conference to explain Fickou's re-positioning at the expense of Thomas.

"Scotland have very athletic players on the wings."

Romain Ntamack, making his way back following an injury layoff, replaces the injured Matthieu Jalibert at flyhalf.

Scrumhalf Antoine Dupont's usual partner at Toulouse, where both play their club rugby, Ntamack came on from the bench in Saturday's dramatic 32-30 victory against Wales.

"He was very solid in a weird game. He led the team, took the good decisions and I'm sure he's going to do just that again," said Galthie.

France beat Wales in stoppage time and they must beat Scotland by 21 points and secure a bonus point to pip Wales to the title.

Locks Bernard Le Roux and Swan Rebbadj take the places of Romain Taofifenua and suspended Paul Willemse, and flanker Anthony Jelonch's power game earns him a start with Dylan Cretin on the bench.

France, who beat Wales in stoppage time, must beat Scotland by 21 points and secure a bonus point to win their first title since 2010.

Les Bleus currently lie third in the table with 15 points, behind Wales (20) and Ireland (15). Scotland are fourth on 11 points, with a chance of finishing second, which would be their best result since the addition of Italy turned the Five Nations into Six in 2000.

Galthie said his team should first focus on winning the game without thinking about the points difference.

"The primary goal is clear: win the game. The rest will depend on the scenario," he said.

"...Scotland's defence is clever, tactical. They're the best, the most intelligent in that department.


15-Brice Dulin, 14-Damian Penaud, 13-Virimi Vakatawa, 12-Arthur Vincent, 11-Gael Fickou, 10-Romain Ntamack, 9-Antoine Dupont, 8-Gregory Alldritt, 7-Charles Ollivon (captain), 6-Anthony Jelonch, 5-Swan Rebbadj, 4-Bernard Le Roux, 3-Mohamed Haouas, 2-Julien Marchand, 1-Cyril Baille

Replacements: 16-Camille Chat, 17-Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18-Uini Atonio, 19-Romain Taofifenua, 20-Dylan Cretin, 21-Baptiste Serin, 22-Anthony Bouthier, 23-Teddy Thomas

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and John Stonestreet)