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France name 31-man squad for England showdown

France name 31-man squad for England showdown

France name 31-man squad for England showdown

Fabien Galthie has named an updated 31-man squad to prepare for France’s blockbuster showdown with England in the Autumn Nations Cup showpiece next weekend.

Les Bleus defeated Italy 36-5 to finish top of Group B and set up a much-anticipated finale against England at Twickenham on Sunday as they contest for the inaugural title.

France inflicted the only defeat of the year on Eddie Jones’ men in February in the 2020 Guinness Six Nations but their line-up will be much different for their trip to England HQ.

Baptiste Serin and Teddy Thomas have reached their limit of three matches this autumn as part of the agreement between the French Rugby Federation and the Top 14 teams.

Serin and Thomas will therefore be unavailable for the Autumn Nations Cup silverware showpiece along with the likes of Antoine Dupont, Charles Ollivon, Virimi Vakatawa and Gael Fickou.

In their place, Galthie has added six new players to his squad – Sébastien Bezy, Pierre-Louis Barassi, Athony Etrillard, Guillaume Ducat, Selevasio Tolofua and Donovan Taofifenua.

And when asked whether he was tempted to ask the federation and the league if they could make an exception and allow him to recall some of his players, Galthie was emphatic in his answer.

“No. You cannot ask the players to come into the squad, leave, and come back again,” he said.

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“It’s too difficult for a player. Club rugby and international rugby are two different things.

“We do with what we have in an environment that’s not ideal. We just have to go forward and deal with what we have.”

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