France coach Fabien Galthie has kept faith in Romain Ntamack and Matthieu Jalibert for Sunday’s rugby Test against Georgia in Bordeaux after a disappointing showing against Argentina last weekend.
Jalibert will again start at flyhalf alongside scrumhalf Antoine Dupont with Ntamack being fielded at centre as the France staff looks to boost the team’s creativity ahead of a much-awaited clash against New Zealand on November 20.
Ntamack, who was Galthie’s preferred flyhalf since he took over after the 2019 World Cup, failed to find his stride in Les Bleus’s 29-20 win against Argentina last Saturday and was replaced after 50 minutes.
“We’re trying to build an organisation. Those 50 minutes together left a feeling of incompleteness but we’re starting again with another week of work under our belt,” Galthie, who made five changes to the team who started against Argentina, told a news conference on Friday.
“We’re looking to be more competitive with this combination.”
Four of the changes were among the forwards, with Uini Atonio starting at prop after missing the opening game of the autumn series with an injury, Galthie said.
Gregory Alldritt is back at number eight instead of Anthony Jelonch, who slides to left side flanker while Sekou Macalou starts on the right with Cameron Woki moving a rank up to the second row – meaning Francois Cros will be on the bench.
Thibaud Flament, who produced an impressive performance against Argentina, will be on the bench with Paul Willemse after the pair of locks had started last Saturday.
On the backline, Matthis Lebert will be handed his first cap as he starts on the left wing.
Team: 15-Melvyn Jaminet, 14-Damian Penaud, 13-Gael Fickou, 12-Romain Ntamack, 11-Matthis Lebel, 10-Matthieu Jalibert, 9-Antoine Dupont (capt.), 8-Gregory Alldritt 7-Sekou Makalou, 6-Anthony Jelonch, 5-Romain Taofifenua, 4-Cameron Woki, 3-Uini Antonio, 2-Julien Marchand, 1-Cyril Baille. Res: 16-Peato Mauvaka, 17-Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18-Demba Bamba, 19-Thibaud Flament, 20-Paul Willemse, 21-Francois Cros, 22-Maxime Lucu, 23-Jonathan Danty.