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Galthie hands out five French debuts ahead of Italy tie

Galthie hands out five French debuts ahead of Italy tie

Galthie hands out five French debuts ahead of Italy tie

France head coach Fabien Galthie has made wholesale changes to his team ahead of their final Autumn Nations Cup group stage match against Italy on Saturday, with Sekou Macalou handed a first cap since 2017.

Les Bleus head into the clash at the Stade de France knowing a victory will leave them top of the pile at the end of the group stage, needing just two points to knock Scotland off of top spot in Group B.

The 25-year-old has impressed for Stade Francais in the Top 14 this season, and replaces skipper Charles Ollivon at openside flanker, with scrum-half Baptiste Serin taking over the captain’s armband.

Winger Teddy Thomas and fly-half Matthieu Jalibert are the only two players to continue in the starting XV after last weekend’s 22-15 victory over Scotland, with five debutants named for the clash in Paris.

Locks Killian Geraci and Baptiste Pesenti will be making their international bow against the Azzurri, as well as Toulouse prop Rodrigue Neti.

Centre Jean-Pascal Barraque and winger Gabin Villiere will also pull on the blue of their country for the first time, as Galthie looks to experiment against an Italian side who have failed to beat them since 2013.

There are also recalls for Jonathan Danty at centre, as well as for fullback Brice Dulin, with neither having played at international level for over three years, while there are six more potential debutants on the bench.

Teddy Baubigny, Hassane Kolingar and Cyril Cazeaux could all make their first international appearance in the French capital, as well as Swan Rebbadj, Louis Carbonel and Yoram Moefana, with Galthie giving the majority of his first-choice team a rest before next weekend’s final round.

Fly half Jalibert said: “Clearly, the approach to a game is not the same whether or not I have the responsibility for the goal kicking.

“It’s a responsibility that I love , he confided to us a few months ago. Then, if I stumble and I get a tough penalty right away, I’m going to be confident, it’ll be good for the rest of the game. But if I miss one, don’t get to the bottom of the bucket. “

France team to face Italy

15. Brice Dulin, 14. Teddy Thomas, 13. Jean-Pascal Barraque, 12. Jonathan Danty, 11. Gabin Villiere, 10. Matthieu Jalibert, 9. Baptiste Serin, 1. Rodrigue Neti, 2. Peato Mauvaka, 3. Dorian Aldegheri, 4. Killian Geraci, 5. Baptiste Pesenti, 6. Cameron Woki, 7. Sekou Macalou, 8. Anthony Jelonch,

Replacements: 16. Teddy Baubigny, 17. Hassane Kolignar, 18. Uini Atonio, 19. Cyril Cazeaux, 20. Swan Rebbadj, 21. Baptiste Couilloud, 22. Louis Carbonel, 23. Yoram Moefana

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