Best try scorer in the Top 14, Lyon winger Ethan Dumortier, 21, should replace the Toulonnais and therefore honor his first selection on Sunday against Italy in Rome, where he would be associated with the other wing in Clermont. Damian Penaud (26 years old, 37 caps).

Villière (27, 12 caps), already absent through injury during the fall tests, was released by the tricolor staff after being hit in the ankle during high-intensity training.

No luck decidedly for the former sevens rugby player who, returned to the Top 14 on Saturday during the victory of Toulon against Pau (27-16) after two months of stoppage, had been summoned the next day by the framing of the XV of France and wore the chasuble of the holders from Tuesday.

Apart from this last-minute disappointment, the coach of the Blues Fabien Galthié should announce Friday at noon from the Hotel des Bleus in Capbreton the same formation as that victorious against the South African world champions in the fall (30-26) , with two exceptions due to injuries, which have been known for a few weeks.

The Blues, who hope to achieve a double in the Tournament, just to strike a blow before "their" World Cup (September 8 - October 28), indeed deplore the absences of two of their "tauliers", the second row of Racing 92 Cameron Woki and La Rochelle center Jonathan Danty.

Gaël Fickou and the XV of France in training at the Marcoussis rugby center, November 9, 2022 © FRANCK FIFE / AFP / Archives

Flament/Willemse, second

Indisputable holder in the "cage" alongside Paul Willemse in 2022, Woki was indeed injured in the scaphoid in mid-January.

His package for the entire Tournament had therefore been a blow for the management of the Blues, who should trust in N.4 in Toulouse Thibaud Flament (25 years old, 11 caps).

"Thibaud has a lighter profile, more mobile than me, he's a super good player, a serious guy who works hard," said Willemse on Tuesday, who will only be the second association with Flament after a victory against Argentina (29-20) in November 2021.

Another notable package: that of Danty, victim at the end of December of a rupture of the posterior cruciate ligament.

His absence should benefit the versatile UBB player Yoram Moefana (22, 11 caps), who in the fall had "helped out" on the wing in place of Villière.

Paul Willemse (ball in hand) with Montpellier in the European Cup at the GGL stadium, January 22, 2023 © Sylvain THOMAS / AFP/Archives

He should be associated with the "veteran" of Racing 92, Gaël Fickou (28 years old, 74 caps), while the Toulousain Thomas Ramos (27 years old, 20 caps) would take over the position of N.15.

On the front line, the trio formed by Toulouse stalwarts Cyril Baille (29 years old, 38 caps) and La Rochelle Uini Atonio (32 years old, 47 caps), associated with hooker Julien Marchand (27 years old, 24 caps), holds the string.

While the third line would be made up of Toulousain Anthony Jelonch (26 years old, 22 caps), Toulonnais Charles Ollivon (29 years old, 27 caps) and Rochelais Grégory Alldritt (25 years old, 31 caps).

As for the hinge, formed by the Toulousains Antoine Dupont (25 years old, 43 sel.) and Romain Ntamack (23 years old, 31 sel.), their 22nd association in Blue, there is no doubt.

Probable composition of the XV of France against Italy: Ramos - Penaud, Moefana, Fickou, Dumortier - (o) Ntamack, (m) Dupont (cap.) - Ollivon, Alldritt, Jelonch - Willemse, Flament - Atonio, Marchand, Baille

© 2023 AFP