Thursday 19 September 2019

Marseille to host historic French game

Guy Noves. Photo: Sportsfile
Guy Noves. Photo: Sportsfile Sportsdesk

France will host a Six Nations fixture outside of Paris for the first time in their history next year when they move their match with Italy to Marseille.

The round-three meeting on February 23, 2018 will be hosted at the Orange Vélodrome stadium in Marseille, which was recently renovated for the Euro 2016 football tournament.

The venue, home to the city's football team, is now the second-largest stadium in France, after the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, with a capacity of more than 67,000.

Last year it hosted both Top 14 semi-finals on back-to-back days between La Rochelle and Toulon, before eventual winners Clermont defeated Racing 92.

Toulon will also play a regular-season match at the same venue against Montpellier in April next year.

France head coach Guy Noves yesterday also announced his squad for the upcoming November international fixtures, when France will face New Zealand on two occasions, in Paris at the Stade de France on November 11 and then at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon on November 14.

Thirty-one players have been called up for the first fixture with the All Blacks and for the following Test matches against South Africa and Japan, with an additional 14 players named to participate in the mid-week match against New Zealand in Lyon.

Among the uncapped players in the initial 31-man selection is uncapped Toulon fly-half Anthony Belleau, who has been tipped to start for France in November.

International Rugby Newsletter

Rugby insights and commentary from our renowned journalists like Neil Francis, Will Slattery, Alan Quinlan & Cian Tracey.

First-choice number 10 Camille Lopez fractured his leg playing against Northampton Saints last weekend.

In-form La Rochelle centre Geoffrey Doumayrou, who has impressed in the opening rounds of the Champions Cup, is another uncapped player selected by Noves.

Judicael Cancoriet, Raphael Chaume, Paul Gabrillagues, Antoine Guillamon, Daniel Kotze, Felix Lambey, Marco Tauleigne and Gabriel Lacroix are the other new faces in Noves' initial 31-man squad.

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: Ireland's fullback dilemma, World Cup bonding and the squad standby list

Also in Sport