France A team set to start against Namibia as improvement needed

rugby18 September 2023 16:39| © AFP
Anthony Jelonch © Getty Images

France look set to recall their premium players for their third Pool A match against Namibia, hoping to rediscover their touch after a mediocre showing against Uruguay.

Les Bleus got their campaign off to a flying start with a 27-13 victory against New Zealand but the reserve side was largely disappointing as they beat Uruguay 27-12 six days later.

The last two training sessions ahead of Thursday's match against Namibia in Bordeaux suggest that scrumhalf Antoine Dupont and flyhalf Matthieu Jalibert, among others, will be back in the starting line-up.

Prop Cyril Baille could also start as he makes his comeback from injury, as well as centre Jonathan Danty after Yoram Moefana failed to shine against the All Blacks and Uruguay.

With two weeks between the Namibia game and the clash against Italy for the Pool A finale, the premium team is set to be largely involved on Thursday to avoid not playing a competitive test for a month.

"What's important for us is to play matches. We've also got plenty of weeks of training ahead of us, we're working hard and we've got plenty of time to build up a momentum," Jalibert told reporters on Monday.

"We have two matches coming up, with a break in between. The important thing is to get some game time, get back into our rhythm and work on our cohesion.

"There's no need for me to take it easy, I'm happy to be able to play, I need some rhythm, I need to find my bearings with the team. I'm very happy to be able to get on with it, I'll take everything there is to take."

Centre Gael Fickou agreed with Jalibert.

"The more matches we play, the better," he said.

New Zealand destroyed Namibia 71-3 and France will be expected to deliver a similar performance on Thursday.

Jalibert, however, insisted France would follow their own path and not get drawn into comparisons with the three-time world champions.

"The All Blacks played a big game, but we're not aiming to score more than them or send out a message. What we want is to play a complete match, in attack and in defence, to replicate in a match what we work on in training," he said.