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Six Nations 2021: France head coach Fabien Gathie picks unchanged starting XV for Wales clash

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Gathie has kept faith with the starting line-up which was edged out by England for the crunch clash with Wales in Paris; hosts must win to keep their hopes of claiming the Six Nations title alive

France head coach Fabien Galthie has named an unchanged starting XV for the clash with Wales

France head coach Fabien Galthie has named an unchanged starting XV for the clash with Wales

Fabien Gathie has named an unchanged starting line-up as France aim to deny Wales a Six Nations Grand Slam in Paris on Saturday evening.

Les Bleus’ hopes of completing a clean sweep in this year’s tournament were thwarted in a 23-20 defeat to England at Twickenham last weekend, although victory on Saturday would keep alive their hopes of claiming the title for the first time since 2010.

But head coach Gathie has kept faith with the same XV from that match, which sees Matthieu Jalibert once again start alongside Antoine Dupoint in the halves with Romain Ntamack on the bench.

“We chose him for a simple reason, he was excellent against England,” Galthie said of 22-year-old fly-half Jalibert, who was named as last weekend’s Six Nations player of the round.

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“He was solid, he kicked perfectly and performed well in the way he managed the game against very tough opposition.”

Gathie has made changes among the replacements though, with Uini Antonio, Swan Rebbadj and Arthur Vincent coming back into contention as France go for a five-three split of forwards and backs on the bench.

Victory for Wales would see them be crowned Six Nations champions and complete the Grand Slam, while France must win and then turn their attention to the re-arranged game against Scotland, which is expected to be played on Friday, March 26.

France team to face Wales

France: 15 Brice Dulin; 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Damian Penaud; 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Antoine Dupont; 1 Cyril Baille, 2 Julien Marchand, 3 Mohamed Haouas, 4 Romain Taofifenau, 5 Paul Willemse, 6 Dylan Cretin, 7 Charles Ollivon, 8 Gregory Alldritt.

Replacements: 16 Camile Chat, 17 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18 Uini Antonio, 19 Swan Rebbadj, 20 Anthony Jelonch, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Romain Ntamack, 23 Arthur Vincent.

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