Thomas replaces Penaud as France make three changes for Wales Test

·2-min read
Teddy Thomas has scored 11 tries in 19 Tests since making his France debut in 2014
Teddy Thomas has scored 11 tries in 19 Tests since making his France debut in 2014

Winger Teddy Thomas replaced the injured Damian Penaud as one of three changes in the side named by France coach Fabien Galthie on Thursday to host Wales this weekend ahead of the end of the Six Nations.

Galthie's men welcome Wayne Pivac's team to Paris on Saturday in a Test match, a week before a potential tournament decider against Ireland which was rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Les Bleus' players will only be allowed to play a maximum of three matches each during the six-game campaign after the French Rugby Federation and the French league came to an agreement last week over player availability away from club duty.

Racing 92's Thomas has been given a starting berth despite being omitted from the team for last weekend's European Champions Cup final defeat.

"He was dropped by his club. He has had a very good week, we know his journey and his strengths," former France captain Galthie said.

"When we select someone it's because of their strengths. He has convinced us this week in training, he's ready," he added.

Penaud is suffering from an ankle problem, Vincent Rattez comes in for Arthur Vincent as Gael Fickou reverts to centre and Jean-Baptiste Gros takes the place of the retired Jefferson Poirot at loosehead prop from the loss at Scotland in March.

Tighthead Mohamed Haouas keeps his place after serving his suspension for punching Jamie Ritchie at Murrayfield.

Toulouse's Thomas Ramos will cover full-back and fly-half from the bench after outside-half Matthieu Jalibert withdrew from the squad last week for an unspecified medical reason.

France will face Fiji, Italy and Scotland in a newly-created Autumn Nations Cup in November which has replaced the international matches originally scheduled for next month.

Later, the mayor of the town of Vannes, David Robo, announced the match against the Pacific Islanders on November 15 will be moved from Saint-Etienne to Brittany.

As it stands, the Stade de la Rabine will be able to welcome 5,000 spectators for the fixture due to a relatively low number of Covid-19 cases in the area.

France side to face Wales on Saturday (1910 GMT):

Anthony Bouthier; Teddy Thomas, Virimi Vakatawa, Gael Fickou, Vincent Rattez; Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Gregory Alldritt, Charles Ollivon (capt), Francois Cros; Paul Willemse, Bernard Le Roux; Mohamed Haouas, Julien Marchand, Cyril Baille

Replacements: Camille Chat, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Demba Bamba, Romain Taofifenua, Dylan Cretin, Baptiste Serin, Thomas Ramos, Arthur Vincent