France coach Galthie forced into change for Italy game
PARIS - France coach Fabien Galthie has made one injury-enforced change to his backline for the home Six Nations clash with Italy at the Stade de France on Sunday.
Arthur Vincent comes into the side at outside centre to replace New Zealand-born Virimi Vakatawa, who has not fully recovered from a triceps injury sustained early on in the stunning 24-17 home victory over England in their opener last weekend.
Vincent, 20, will make his first start after coming off the bench against England.
"Vincent is a player with a perfect career: he is part of the generation of the world champion under-20, captain last year," Galthie told reporters. "He is present at every match with his Montpellier club. He performs very well in training with us. We expect him to be himself, to bring us his strengths, his maturity and his youth too. He is more of a multi-purpose centre that can play both the first and second centre positions."
The rest of the starting team remains unchanged, with Charles Ollivon leading the team from the side of the scrum.
There is also one change among the replacements as lock Romain Taofifenua replaces Vincent, with Galthie opting for an extra forward against the physical Italians.
"This option had been considered before England and we decided to choose it this week," Galthie said. "We have placed two locks, including the more hybrid profile of Boris Palu, who can cover four positions - both lock positions and on either flank (in the scrum)."
The France team:
15-Anthony Bouthier, 14-Teddy Thomas, 13-Arthur Vincent, 12-Gael Fickou, 11-Vincent Rattez, 10-Romain Ntamack, 9-Anthony Dupont, 8-Gregory Alldritt, 7-Charles Ollivon (captain), 6-Francois Cros, 5-Paul Willemse, 4-Bernard Le Roux, 3-Mohamed Haouas, 2-Julien Marchand, 1-Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16-Peato Mauvaka, 17-Jefferson Poirot, 18-Demba Bamba, 19-Romain Taofifenua, 20-Boris Palu, 21-Cameron Woki, 22-Baptiste Serin, 23-Matthieu Jalibert.Reuters