France v Ireland: French player profiles

John O’Sullivan looks through Fabien Galthie’s starting XV ahead of Saturday's showdown

French scrumhalf Antoine Dupont during a training session ahead of the Six Nations game agaibst Ireland. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images

French scrumhalf Antoine Dupont during a training session ahead of the Six Nations game agaibst Ireland. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images

 

15 Anthony Bouthier

Club: Montpellier
Age: 28
Height: 6’
Weight: 86kgs (13st 10lbs)
Caps: 5
Points: 5
He has passed the return to play protocols to take his place. Something of a latecomer to international rugby he possesses a siege-gun right boot, offers stability and presence and is a dangerous runner.

14 Vincent Rattez

Club: Montpellier
Age: 28
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 78kgs (12st 4lbs)
Caps: 6
Points: 5
Normally a left wing and that’s where he may play, he joined Montpellier from La Rochelle earlier this year, is noted for his footwork and ability to beat defenders in tight spaces and is quick to boot.

France centre Virimi Vakatawa. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images
France centre Virimi Vakatawa. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images

13 Virimi Vakatawa

Club: Racing 92
Age: 28
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 99kgs (15st 8lbs)
Caps: 25
Points: 40
The Fijian-born centre has arguably been the outstanding back in European rugby this season. An amalgam of power, pace and a brilliant offloading game.

12 Arthur Vincent

Club: Montpellier
Age: 21
Height: 6’
Weight: 88kgs (13st 12lbs)
Caps: 5
Points: 0
A member of French teams that won successive under-20 World Cups in 2018 and 2019 and the only change to the team that beat Wales: balanced runner, good vision and a nice range in passing.

11 Gael Fickou

Club: Stade Francais
Age: 26
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 100kg (15st 10lbs)
Caps: 56
Points: 45
He shifts to the wing having played centre against Wales. He’s always been a gifted player and is now consistently bringing that to the international arena; strong and quick with an eye for a turnover chance.

10 Romain Ntamack

Club: Toulouse
Age: 21
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 86kgs (13st 8lbs)
Caps: 17
Points: 104
A teenage prodigy and son of former international and Irish tormentor, Emile, he can play outhalf or inside centre. He has all the skills but on occasion his place-kicking can let him down.

9 Antoine Dupont

Club: Toulouse
Age: 23
Height: 5’7”
Weight: 85kgs (13st 6lbs)
Caps: 25
Points: 30
Arguably the best scrumhalf in world rugby, he scored two tries against Wales last week that showcased many of his qualities. Panoramic vision and great decision making allows him to bring his formidable skill set to bear.

1 Cyril Baille

Club: Toulouse
Age: 27
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 115kg (18st 2lbs)
Caps: 21
Points: 5
A try scorer from a quickly taken tap penalty last week, he is a power athlete with an impressive work-rate on both sides of the ball.

2 Julien Marchand

Club: Toulouse
Age: 25
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 108kgs (17st)
Caps: 7
Points: 0
A combative industrious hooker with leadership qualities which his club have already availed of, he was the fulcrum for a lineout that lost just one throw last week.

French tighthead prop Mohamed Haouas. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images
French tighthead prop Mohamed Haouas. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

3 Mohamed Haouas

Club: Montpellier
Age: 26
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 123kgs (19st 5lbs)
Caps: 5
Points: 0
Ill discipline has been an issue for him on the pitch and he has a court case pending early next year about the alleged robbery of a tobacconist that dates back to 2014. Excellent in the scrum he needs to control his aggression.

4 Bernard Le Roux

Club: Racing 92
Age: 31
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 116kgs (18st 4lbs)
Caps: 42
Points: 0
The South African-born player is very similar in style to Tadhg Beirne in that he can play both secondrow and backrow and is an excellent athlete, prominent in all facets of play but inclined to give away penalties.

5 Paul Willemse

Club: Montpellier
Age: 27
Height: 6’7”
Weight: 129kg (20st 4lbs)
Caps: 10
Points: 5
A former Springbok under-20 international, he qualified for France under the residency rule. He boasts an impressive try-scoring record for a lock at club level.

6 Francois Cros

Club: Toulouse
Age: 26
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 107kg (16st 12lbs)
Caps: 7
Points: 0
French head coach Fabien Galthie has an identikit type of player for his backrow, strong, quick, agile with a high work-rate and he ticks all the boxes.

7 Charles Ollivon (capt)

Club: Toulon
Age: 27
Height: 6’6”
Weight: 108kgs (17st)
Caps: 16
Points: 35
He was made captain for the first game of the 2020 Six Nations and celebrated by scoring two tries in victory over England and has a strike-rate of almost one every two Test matches.

8 Gregory Alldritt

Club: La Rochelle
Age: 23
Height: 6’3
Weight: 115kgs (18st 2lbs)
Caps: 16
Points: 20
His paternal grandparents are Irish, his brothers played club rugby in Scotland, his father was born in Kenya and he grew up in Auch. A brilliant athlete and ball player.

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