Uini Atonio returns to the front line and Romain Taofifenua asserts himself, only two changes from the XV of France to challenge the Welsh
France’s XV receive Wales on Saturday, on behalf of the final day of the Six Nations Tournament in the hope of retaining the title.
A quarter of an hour to conclude on a high note. On Thursday 16 March, France staff unveiled the composition of the squad that will face Wales at the Stade de France on Saturday (at 3.45pm on France 2 and france.tv), during matchday five of the tournament.
Of note are two changes from the victorious team in England. The first is the return of Uini Atonio to the post of right pillar after his disqualification. Thus he replaces Dorian Aldegheri, who had succeeded him in England, but who is injured. The second is carried out following Paul Willemse’s hamstring injury on the second row. The starter, who has been sent back to his club for treatment, is replaced by Romain Taofifenua, a regular finisher in Fabien Galthié’s squad.
Absent from the last two matches due to a yellow card received in Ireland, Uini Atonio is a strong reinforcement for the French pack, explained Fabien Galthié when explaining Rochelais’ stay: “He is a player who counts, through his experience, his intrinsic qualities, especially his strength in the scrum. He is certainly the best in the world in his position in the exercise. It is an advantage that makes him an indisputable starter. “
First term in this tournament for Taofifenua
Fabien Galthié and his staff also had to contend with a forced substitution to compensate for Paul Willemse’s injury. Always back on the field in the first four matches, Romain Taofifenua has already played 118 minutes in this tournament. “He’s always made good comebacks, he’s been with us almost four years and of course with his performances, he comes in place five as a matter of course.”explained the coach.
For the rest of the XV, the Blues line-up is in the classics. Confidence is maintained in Jonathan Danty in the centre, author of an excellent performance in England after missing the first three matches. Captain Antoine Dupont and his Toulouse team-mate Romain Ntamack are re-elected, as is Thomas Ramos in defence, with the Tournament record for points scored by a French player (80) in his sights.
The French will take on a Welsh side who have won just one match in the tournament, at the expense of Italy. To hope to retain the title, France must win and hope that Ireland fall to England at home. “We’d rather focus on the game against Wales than think about Ireland”Fabien Galthié also specified.
Beginning XV: Baille (29 years, 41 selections), Marchand (27 years, 27 selections), Atonio (32 years, 49 selections) – R.Taofifenua (32 years, 42 selections), Flament (25 years, 15 selections)) – Cros ( 28 years, 19 selections), Ollivon (29 years, 32 selections), Alldritt (25 years, 38 selections) – Dupont (m) (26 years, 46 selections), Ntamack (o) (23 years, 35 selections) selections) – Dumortier (22 years, 4 appearances), Danty (30 years, 19 appearances), Fickou (28 years, 78 appearances), Penaud (26 years, 41 appearances) – Ramos (27 years, 24 appearances) caps).
The substitutes: Mauvaka (26 years, 20 selections), Wardi (27 years, 6 selections), Falatea (25 years, 11 selections), Chalureau (31 years, 2 selections), Macalou (27 years, 14 selections), Lucu ( 30 years, 12 appearances), Moefana (22 years, 15 appearances), Jaminet (23 years, 12 appearances)