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Debutant Ntamack to start for France against Wales

Debutant Ntamack to start for France against Wales
Rugby Union - France Training - National Rugby Center, Marcoussis, France - January 28, 2019 General view during training REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes   -   Copyright  GONZALO FUENTES(Reuters)
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PARIS (Reuters) – Centre Romain Ntamack will start his first game for France after the 19-year-old was named in the team to face Wales in their Six Nations opener on Friday at the expense of the experienced Mathieu Bastareaud.

Bastareaud was left out of the squad that will also feature debutant lock Paul Willemse.

Les Bleus kick off their campaign against a side they have only beaten once in the last seven years.

They also face tricky trips to Twickenham and the Aviva Stadium to face England and Ireland, who are fourth and second in the world rankings, respectively.

Coach Jacques Brunel has recalled scrumhalf Morgan Parra and centre Wesley Fofana after the Clermont duo missed the November series through injury, handing both of them a start on Wednesday for the Stade de France clash.

Ntamack, the son of the former France player and ex France assistant coach Emile, has been instrumental in Toulouse’s return to the top of the Top 14 league this season.

Weighing 86 kilos to Bastareaud’s 126, he may lack in power, but his speed and technical abilities are seen as a top asset for Les Bleus against Wales.

Team:15-Maxime Medard, 14-Damian Penaud, 13-Wesley Fofana, 12-Romain Ntamack, 11-Yoann Huget, 10-Camille Lopez, 9-Morgan Parra, 8-Louis PIcamoles, 7-Arthur Iturria, 6-Wenceslas Lauret, 5-Paul Willemse, 4-Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3-Uini Atonio, 2-Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1-Jefferson Poirot

Replacements: 16-Julien Marchand, 17-Dany Priso, 18-Demba Bamba, 19-Felix Lambey, 20-Gregory Alldritt, 21-Baptiste Serin, 22-Gael Fickou, 23-Geoffrey Doumayrou

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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