The composition of the French XV to face Namibia at the Stade Vélodrome was announced on Tuesday. For their third match of the Rugby World Cup, the Blues see the return of Cyril Baille, absent since mid-August. Grégory Alldritt will, however, miss the meeting.
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Left pillar Cyril Baille, absent since mid-August due to a right calf injury, will return to his starting place in an almost typical French team against Namibia, Thursday in Marseille, announced Tuesday 19 September, coach Fabien Galthié.
Third row Grégory Alldritt, hampered by one knee, was “spared” for this match on the third day of Group A of the World Cup, he added.
Cyril Baille (30 years old, 44 caps), who “is incredibly fresh” according to the French forwards coach, William Servat, will reunite with his Toulouse teammates, full-back and scorer Thomas Ramos, second row Thibaud Flament , captain and scrum half Antoine Dupont as well as third row Anthony Jelonch.
Objective: third victory
This starting XV will also strongly resemble the one that beat the All Blacks (27-13) at the opening of the competition. But the hard blow comes from the absence of Grégory Alldritt (26 years old, 43 caps), who suffers from knee discomfort and was spared for this meeting against the modest Namibians.
“We made the decision with him: during yesterday’s training (Monday, Editor’s note), Greg felt a little discomfort in one knee and will be spared,” said Fabien Galthié, visibly not worried about the Rochelais.
Only three winning players from Uruguay survive the rough rugby shown in Lille (27-12): the young UBB winger Louis Bielle-Biarrey (20 years old, 4 selections), the second row of Racing 92 Cameron Woki ( 25 years old, 24 selections) and Anthony Jelonch (27 years old, 26 selections).
Another return, that of center Jonathan Danty. The Rochelais, absent from the first two matches of the competition due to a muscle injury in his thigh, is a key player in the system put in place by the coach.
After its inaugural victory against the All Blacks followed by a sluggish success against Uruguay, the French XV continues its quest for a first world crown at the Stade Vélodrome against Namibia, a team well within its reach.
The Welwitschias, only the 21st nation in the world, have not won a single match in their six previous World Cup appearances. The Namibians started the 2023 edition with two corrections, against Italy (52-8) then New Zealand (71-3).
The Blues will play their final group match against Italy on October 6 in Lyon.
The composition of the Blues
Ramos – Penaud, Fickou, Danty, Bielle-Biarrey – (o) Jalibert, (m) Dupont (captain) – Ollivon, Jelonch, Cros – Flament, Woki – Atonio, Mauvaka, Baille
Substitutes: Bourgari, Wardi, Aldegheri, R. Taofifenua, Boudehent, Couilloud, Moefana, Jaminet