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7 uncapped players picked in youthful France 6 Nations squad

January 23, 2020 GMT
France head coach Fabien Galthie, left, and Charles Ollivon pose for a photo with the Six Nations Trophy during the Six Nations rugby launch in London, Wednesday Jan. 22, 2020. (Steven Paston/PA via AP)
France head coach Fabien Galthie, left, and Charles Ollivon pose for a photo with the Six Nations Trophy during the Six Nations rugby launch in London, Wednesday Jan. 22, 2020. (Steven Paston/PA via AP)

PARIS (AP) — France coach Fabien Galthié has selected seven uncapped players in the squad to face England in their Six Nations opener.

There are four new faces among the forwards and three in the backs for the match at Stade de France on Feb. 2.

It will be Galthié’s first in charge after replacing Jacques Brunel following the Rugby World Cup. He has picked only four players with more than 30 test caps — and only one with 50 — as he looks to rebuild the side with youth. Another six players have three test caps or fewer.

Among the newcomers in the forwards are prop Mohamed Haouas and backrower Dylan Cretin, while center Arthur Vincent and fullback Anthony Bouthier are in the backs.

Backrower Charles Ollivon replaces hooker Guilhem Guirado as captain, with the veteran Guirado retiring from internationals after the World Cup.

France, which reached the World Cup quarterfinals in Japan, then faces Italy at home on Feb. 9.

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France:

Forwards: Cyril Baille, Demba Bamba, Camille Chat, Mohamed Haouas, Julien Marchand, Jefferson Poirot, Bernard Le Roux, Boris Palu, Romain Taofifenua, Paul Willemse, Grégory Alldritt, Dylan Cretin, François Cros, Alexandre Fischer, Sekou Macalou, Charles Ollivon (captain).

Backs: Antoine Dupont, Baptiste Serin, Matthieu Jalibert, Romain Ntamack, Gaël Fickou, Virimi Vakatawa, Arthur Vincent, Gabriel Ngandebe, Damian Penaud, Vincent Rattez, Teddy Thomas, Anthony Bouthier.

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