Rugby-Ramos at flyhalf again in unchanged France side to face England

Credit: REUTERS/RUSSELL CHEYNE

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March 14 (Reuters) - France coach Fabien Galthie has named an unchanged team for their final Six Nations Championship fixture against England in Lyon on Saturday, which means a second run at flyhalf for Thomas Ramos with options thin in the number 10 jersey.

Ramos usually plays fullback but injuries to Matthieu Jalibert and Romain Ntamack have thrust him into the number 10 role, where he acquitted himself fairly well in the 45-24 win over Wales last weekend despite some poor moments on defence.

It also means further run outs for lock Emmanuel Meafou, centre Nicolas Depoortere and fullback Leo Barre, who all debuted in the five-try victory in Cardiff in which France’s forward power proved the difference in the final 20 minutes.

"We were right to bring him (Ramos) in at flyhalf, to also leave a place for Leo Barre, who has a lot of punch," Galthie told reporters on Thursday.

"Thomas has a lot of leadership over the management of the game and over his team mates too. In mastering strong and weak points (of the opponent), he is very efficient."

Damian Penaud and Louis Bielle-Biarrey are on the wings, with Gael Fickou partnering Depoortere in midfield and Nolann Le Garrec given another run at scrumhalf after impressing last week.

Props Cyril Baille and Uini Atonio are either side of hooker Julien Marchand, with Thibaud Flament and Meafou in the second row, and flankers Francois Cros and captain Gregory Alldritt at the back of the scrum with Charles Ollivon.

Galthie has again opted for a 6-2 split between forwards and backs among the replacements to counter the physical threat of England in the final quarter of the game. Scrumhalf Maxime Lucu and centre Yoram Moefana are the two backs on the bench.

"To win this match, we will have to move forward: in the scrum, with the kicking game, on collisions," Galthie said. "We will have to reverse the pressure and for that what counts is energy. The fighting intensity of the English will be enormous."

France still have the slimmest of hopes of lifting the Six Nations trophy this season. They need to beat England with a bonus point and hope Scotland defeat Ireland in Dublin, with the latter taking no points from the game.

Galthie’s side would then still need to make up a 76-point swing on points difference to overhaul the Irish.

France team:

15-Leo Barre, 14-Damian Penaud, 13-Gael Fickou, 12-Nicolas Depoortere, 11-Louis Bielle-Biarrey, 10-Thomas Ramos, 9-Nolann Le Garrec, 8-Gregory Alldritt (captain), 7-Charles Ollivon, 6-Francois Cros, 5-Emmanuel Meafou, 4-Thibaud Flament, 3-Uini Atonio, 2-Julien Marchand, 1-Cyril Baille.

Replacements: 16-Peato Mauvaka, 17-Sebastien Taofifenua, 18-Georges-Henri Colombe, 19-Romain Taofifenua, 20-Alexandre Roumat, 21-Paul Boudehent, 22-Maxime Lucu, 23-Yoram Moefana

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Ken Ferris)

((nick.said@thomsonreuters.com))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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