Alldritt to lead France against Fiji as Willemse and Cros return

rugby17 August 2023 09:37| © AFP
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Gregory Alldritt © Gallo Images

La Rochelle backrow forward Gregory Alldritt will captain France against Fiji in Saturday's Rugby World Cup warm-up against Fiji as Paul Willemse and Francois Cros are recalled by the tournament hosts.

Alldritt will lead a heavily rotated team in Nantes as Montpellier lock Willemse and Toulouse flanker Cros return from injury, with France coach Fabien Galthie set to name his 33-man World Cup squad next Monday.

La Rochelle's Antoine Hastoy comes in at fly-half for Romain Ntamack, who has been ruled out of the tournament with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament sustained in last week's 30-27 win over Scotland.

Hastoy, capped three times, gets the nod ahead of Bordeaux-Begles stand-off Matthieu Jalibert, and will pair up with scrum-half Maxime Lucu for the first time.

Toulouse's Melvyn Jaminet is set for his first France start since a Grand Slam-clinching 25-13 victory over England at last year's Six Nations. Louis Bielle-Biarrey and Yoram Moefana start on the wings.

Centre Arthur Vincent – who made his first international appearance in over two injury-plagued years in the 25-21 loss to Scotland on August 5 – will line up alongside Jonathan Danty, one of just two players to keep his place from a week ago along with Alldritt.

France will have their final warm-up game against Australia at the Stade de France next weekend. They open the World Cup against New Zealand on September 8.

FRANCE (15-1)

Melvyn Jaminet; Louis Bielle-Biarrey, Jonathan Danty, Arthur Vincent, Yoram Moefana; Antoine Hastoy, Maxime Lucu; Gregory Alldritt (capt), Dylan Cretin, Francois Cros; Paul Willemse, Florian Verhaeghe; Uini Atonio, Peato Mauvaka, Reda Wardi

Replacements: Pierre Bourgarit, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Thomas Laclayat, Bastien Chalureau, Thibaud Flament, Sekou Macalou, Baptiste Serin, Matthieu Jalibert