France stick with similar squad for Fiji in Autumn Nations

TOULOUSE, FRANCE (AFP) – France coach Fabien Galthie kept faith with the majority of the squad that beat Ireland in the final game of the delayed Six Nations as he named a 28-man group on Monday for the Autumn Nations opener against Fiji.

Scrum-half Baptiste Serin and back-rower Francois Cros were left out due to injury with Lyon’s Baptiste Couilloud, Bordeaux-Begles lock Cyril Cazeaux and Stade Francais centre Julien Delbouis all called up.

Racing 92 hooker Teddy Baubigny, Toulouse prop Dorian Aldegheri and Bordeaux flanker Cameron Woki are also included for the November 15 match in Vannes.

Woki had been selected for the Six Nations warm-up win over Wales last month but was forced to pull out for medical reasons.

France just missed out on a first Six Nations title in a decade despite a 35-27 win over Ireland in Paris last Saturday, a result which crowned England on points difference.

Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont and Gregory Alldritt were among six nominees for the player of the tournament.

Under an arrangement agreed by the French rugby league (LNR) and the French rugby federation (FFR), players are only allowed to appear in three of the six matches in the extended autumn Test window.

As a result, a number of changes will need to be made for the second match of the tournament against Scotland in Edinburgh on November 22.

France host Italy on November 28 and will then play a final match to determine their overall position the first weekend of December.

The Autumn Nations Cup was created to replace the November Tests that were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fiji’s Rugby Union announced that six members of their squad had tested positive for COVID-19.