Tue, 17 Sep 2019

Raka, Cros get first caps for France v Scotland

News24
15 Aug 2019, 22:13 GMT+10

Nice - Fijian-born wing Alivereti Raka and back-rower Francois Cros will win their first caps for France on Saturday in their 2019 Rugby World Cup warm-up match against Scotland.

Veteran Camille Lopez, 30, wins back his place at flyhalf, preferred as starter to Romain Ntamack, who will sit on the bench for the match in Nice.

Ahead of the September 20-November 2 World Cup in Japan, French coach Jacques Brunel has been keeping a watchful eye on Clermont's gifted Raka, 24, who obtained French citizenship only last December.

Gros, for his part, made a strong case for inclusion at flank during a stunning past season performance with French champions Toulouse. He gets his chance with regular back-rowers Wenceslas Lauret and Yacouba Camara unavailable through injury.

Toulon's Charles Ollivon also returns at flank after two years to win his seventh cap after struggling with a shoulder injury.

Lopez, dropped after he criticised the coaching setup in February following the sides 44-8 defeat by England, is back in favour and will link up with Toulouse scrumhalf Antoine Dupont.

Cros and Ollivon join Gregory Alldritt (five caps) at No 8 who is preferred to Louis Picamoles in an experimental back-row combination playing together for the first time.

Paul Gabrillagues gets his first start in the second row since June last year while in the front row Camille Chat starts at hooker in place of Guilhem Guirado, the team captain who is injured along with prop Demba Bamba.

France play Scotland again in Edinburgh on August 24 and complete their three-match World Cup preparations against Italy on August 30 at the Stade de France.

Meanwhile, coach Brunel announced that centre Geoffrey Doumayrou, not named in the side to play Scotland, will miss out on the World Cup because of an Achilles tendon injury after being named in the original squad to go to Japan.

Teams:

France

15 Maxime Medard, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Alivereti Raka, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Charles Ollivon, 7 Gregory Alldritt, 6 Francois Cros, 5 Sebastian Vahaamahina, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Jefferson Poirot (captain)

Substitutes: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Felix Lambey, 20 Louis Picamoles, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Romain Ntamack, 23 Thomas Ramos

Scotland

15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Jamie Ritchie, 6 John Barclay, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Stuart McInally (captain), 1 Jamie Bhatti

Substitutes: 16 George Turner, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 George Horne, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Blair Kinghorn

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