Marcoussis (France) (AFP)
Teddy Thomas injured, the staff of the France team should offer his very first selection to Rochelais Arthur Retière to replace the Racingman on the wing of the starting XV who will face Ireland on Saturday to complete the Six Nations Tournament .
At 23, Retière, who had scored 7 tries in 17 matches (including 16 starts) last season in Top 14 and 4 in 4 games since the resumption, will therefore experience a sacred baptism of fire against the 4th nation in the world.
And a real challenge on the tall balls so fond of the Irish.
DTN's son Didier Retière has apparently scored points in training to get ahead of the other neophyte, Toulonnais Gabin Villière (24).
To compensate for the absence of Teddy Thomas (27 years old, 20 selections), hamstring injury, the Blues staff could also have counted on their defense captain, predominant during the victory of the Blues against Wales ( 38-21), Gaël Fickou.
With 56 caps, the Stade Français player is the most experienced called by Fabien Galthié.
The usual center had already played the service firefighters by helping out on the wing at the start of the year, against Wales, during the victory of the Blues in Cardiff (27-23), the first for ten years.
This first will not necessarily be a gift for Retière, who will be tested from the outset by the XV du Trèfle for this "final".
The winner of the Franco-Irish duel will have an option on the 2020 Tournament, depending on the result between England and Italy.
The Irish (1st, 14 points), England (2nd, 13 points) and the Blues (3rd, 13 points) are indeed engaged in a distant duel for the title.
Verdict Saturday therefore.
- Le Roux well available -
Fickou should therefore keep his favorite position, in the center, to form a formidable doublet with Racingman Virimi Vakatawa.
For the rest, the XV of France should again have a familiar face with a composition almost identical to that which had dominated the Welsh, articulated around its Dupont-Ntamack hinge.
Second row Bernard Le Roux (31, 42 caps) was not suspended for his nudge on Welsh captain Alun Wyn Jones and should retain his place.
The Racing 92 player had been heard Tuesday by the disciplinary committee, which considered that the French had indeed committed an "infringement" of the rules of the game but "did not deserve a red card" and could "therefore replay freely".
He will therefore line up alongside Paul Willemse (27 years old, 10 caps) in a second line "100% Springbok" behind the Baille-Marchand-Haouas trio.
Anthony Bouthier (28 years old, 5 caps) will only resume training on Thursday but "we consider that he can apply for the match against Ireland," said Blues manager Raphaël Ibanez.
Probable composition of the XV of France: Bouthier (or Ramos) - Rattez, Vakatawa, Fickou, Retière - (o) Ntamack, (m) Dupont - Ollivon (cap.), Alldritt, Cros - Willemse, Le Roux - Haouas, Marchand, Yawning
© 2020 AFP