Antoine Dupont-less France name near full-strength side for World Cup pool decider

Jared Wright
France captain Antoine Dupont split with an image of flanker and stand in captain Charles Ollivon during the Rugby World Cup

France captain Antoine Dupont and flanker Charles Ollivon during the Rugby World Cup

Fabien Galthie has made just two changes to his starting XV for France’s final Rugby World Cup Pool A clash with Italy on Friday evening.

The World Cup hosts have won their three previous pool matches and will secure passage into the quarter-finals with a victory.

France are without injured scrum-half, and captain Antoine Dupont, for the match, with Maxime Lucu drafted into the starting line-up to fill the number nine jumper.

Cohesive selection

Lucu joins Bordeaux clubmate Matthieu Jalibert as the starting half-backs, and the rest of the backline remains unchanged from the 96-0 win over Namibia.

Jonathan Danty and Gael Fickou continue their partnership in the midfield, with Louis Bielle-Biarrey and Damian Penaud on the wings. Thomas Ramos rounds out the backline at full-back.

After a successful return from injury, Cyril Baille retains his starting role at loosehead prop. Hooker Peato Mauvaka and tighthead prop Uini Atonio join him in the front-row.

The same tight five that defeated Namibia start again, with Cameron Woki and Thibaud Flament named in the second-row.

There is a change in the back-row as Gregory Alldritt comes into the starting line-up in place of Francois Cros. Alldritt’s inclusion sees Anthony Jelonch shift to the number six jumper as Charles Ollivon takes over the captaincy at number seven.

It’s the first time that Ollivon has captained the team since November 2022 against Japan in Toulouse, and the 14th time in his career.

There is not much change on France’s bench either, with Pierre Bourgarit (hooker), Reda Wardi (loosehead), Dorian Aldegheri (tighthead) and Romain Taofifenua (lock) covering the tight five, and Cros providing cover in the back-row.

The five-three split in favour of the forwards means that the backline replacements remain the same, as Baptiste Couilloud, Yoram Moefana, and Melvyn Jaminet retain their roles.

France team v Italy

France: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Louis Bielle-Biarrey, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Maxime Lucu, 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon (c), 6 Anthony Jelonch, 5 Thibaud Flament, 4 Cameron Woki, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Peato Mauvaka, 1 Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16 Pierre Bourgarit, 17 Reda Wardi, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Francois Cros, 21 Baptiste Couilloud, 22 Yoram Moefana, 23 Melvyn Jaminet

Date: Friday, October 6
Venue: Parc OL, Lyon
Referee: Karl Dickson (England)
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce (England), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

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