Friday 18 October 2019

Flyhalf Jules Plisson and veteran prop Vincent Debaty start for France against England

France's Head Coach Philippe Saint-Andre
France's Head Coach Philippe Saint-Andre

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has made a couple of changes to his starting line-up for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations showdown against England with Jules Plisson and Vincent Debaty set to start.

Stade Francais fly-half Plisson comes in for the injured Camille Lopez, who sustained a badly bruised knee during Sunday's 29-0 triumph over Italy, while loosehead prop Eddy Ben Arous has also been ruled out for the match at Twickenham as Vincent makes a start.

Plisson, who impressed as he came off the bench and scored 10 points against Italy, broke his nose at the Stadio Olimpico but has been passed fit to take on leaders England.

Saint-Andre told www.lequipe.fr: "At Twickenham, I need players that are a hundred percent fit, and Camille was doubtful on Wednesday. Jules has a broken nose but he is determined to play. He's okay for Saturday."

Veteran France prop Thomas Domingo had been tipped to replace Ben Arous as he joined up with the squad for training this week, but Saint-Andre believes he has sufficient cover on the replacements bench in Uini Atonio and Rabah Slimani.

He added: "With Uini Atonio and Rabah Slimani, we have two versatile players.

"It's hard for Thomas (Domingo) but it is difficult to assimilate into two training sessions (what is needed). We trust those who are with us from the start of the Six Nations."

Les Bleus' victory last weekend - their second of the tournament - took them to within two points of England, who sit level with Ireland and Wales.

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There is still a slight chance France can lift the trophy if they can beat England on their home turf and the other two results go their way with Wales travelling to Italy and Scotland at home to the Irish.

France team to face England at Twickenham on Saturday, kick-off 5pm

Team: S Spedding (Bayonne); Y Huget (Toulouse), G Fickou (Toulouse), M Mermoz (Toulon), N Nakaitaci (Clermont); J Plisson (Stade Francais), S Tillous-Borde (Toulon); V Debaty (Clermont), G Guirado (Toulon), N Mas (Montpellier), A Flanquart (Stade Francais), Y Maestri (Toulouse), T Dusautoir (Toulouse, captain), B Le Roux (Racing Metro), L Goujon (La Rochelle).

Replacements: B Kayser (Clermont), R Slimani (Stade Francais), U Atonio (La Rochelle), R Taofifenua (Toulon), D Chouly (Clermont), R Kockott (Castres), R Tales (Castres), M Bastareaud (Toulon).

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