By Mitch Phillips
OITA, Japan (Reuters) – Key French backs Antoine Dupont and Damian Penaud have been passed fit to play in the World Cup quarter-final against Wales and were included in the starting line-up by coach Jacques Brunel on Friday.
Scrumhalf Dupont had a back problem while winger Penaud had an abdominal strain but both men, who have been in sharp form in Japan and in the warm-up games, have recovered well enough to play on Sunday.
Brunel has largely returned to the team that started their opening game over Argentina, though with Bernard Le Roux starting instead of Arthur Iturria in the second row.
However, there was no place in the 23 for exciting winger Alivereti Raka, a tryscorer against the United States and Tonga.
France have won only one of the teams’ last eight meetings since beating Wales in the semi-finals of the 2011 tournament. Fullback Maxime Medard is the only survivor from that match in New Zealand.
France team: 15-Maxime Medard, 14-Damian Penaud, 13-Virimi Vakatawa, 12-Gael Fickou, 11-Yoann Huget, 10-Romain Ntamack, 9-Antoine Dupont, 8-Gregory Alldritt, 7-Charles Ollivon, 6-Wenceslas Lauret, 5-Sebastien Vahaamahina, 4-Bernard Le Roux, 3-Rabah Slimani, 2-Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1-Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16-Camille Chat, 17-Cyril Baille, 18-Emerick Setiano, 19-Paul Gabrillagues, 20-Louis Picamoles, 21-Baptiste Serin, 22-Camille Lopez, 23-Vincent Rattez.
(Compiled by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)