France open their Six Nations campaign by travelling to face Italy in Rome on Saturday, February 6 (2.15pm kick-off). Gabin Villiere and Teddy Thomas start on the wings, Arthur Vincent replaces the injured Virimi Vakatawa at 13, Gregory Alldritt fit to start at No 8.
Last Updated: 04/02/21 1:03pm
Toulon’s Gabin Villiere and Racing 92’s Teddy Thomas will start on the wings for France in their Six Nations opener against Italy in Rome on Saturday.
The fleet-footed pair will form Les Bleus’ back-three with full-back Brice Dulin who, like Villiere, made his mark during last year’s Autumn Nations Cup.
With centre Virimi Vakatawa injured, Montpellier’s Arthur Vincent will start in midfield alongside Gael Fickou.
In the forwards, No 8 Gregory Alldritt is a surprise inclusion as he is confirmed as a starter in the back-row after recovering from a knee injury.
The squad was trimmed from 37 to 31 as part of a COVID-19 protocol, in which the players will not be allowed to return to their clubs in-between Six Nations games.
France have improved dramatically since head coach Fabien Galthie took over last year, finishing second in the Six Nations and the Autumn Nations Cup. They have not won the Six Nations since achieving a Grand Slam in 2010.
France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Arthur Vincent, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Gabin Villiere, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Antoine Dupont; 1 Cyril Baille, 2 Julien Marchand, 3 Mohamed Haouas, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 5 Paul Willemse, 6 Dylan Cretin, 7 Charles Ollivon (c), 8 Gregory Alldritt.
Replacements: 16 Pierre Bourgarit, 17 Jean Baptiste Gros, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Anthony Jelonch, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Louis Carbonel, 23 Damian Penaud.