Six Nations 2019: France name teenager Ntamack against Wales

Warren Gatland watches on as Wales train

Uncapped teen Romain Ntamack has gotten the nod over Mathieu Bastareaud, who captained France previous year, as Les Bleus get set for their Six Nations opener Friday against Wales.

"On the other foot, they are a team searching for some confidence having not had a great run in the last seven or eight matches".

"France in Paris is a big challenge first-up". "I've always been positive, always been an optimist", Gatland said.

"We've wanted to play this combination for a year but we've been unable to because of injuries", Brunel said. It will be about who can win that arm wrestle up front.' Ireland defeated world champions New Zealand in the November internationals and are among the favourites for this year's World Cup in Japan.

Brunel also called up another newcomer in lock Paul Willemse, a mobile player whom he hopes will add something extra to France's static forward play of late. Camille Lopez will start at flyhalf.

Things went worse for Wales when the French backs linked with outstanding flanker Arthur Iturria, who looked like he was going nowhere until he straighted and drew two defenders, simultaneously popping up a handsome back-of-the-hand offload to Huget, who streaked in at the corner.

More news: Statement by Premier Doug Ford on Bell Let's Talk Day

France: 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Wesley Fofana, 12 Romain Ntamack, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra; 1 Jefferson Poirot, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 3 Uini Atonio, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 5 Paul Willemse, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 7 Arthur Iturria, 8 Louis Picamoles.

"We look back on times when we won the Championship, won the Grand Slam and we've had a little bit of luck, bounce of the ball". So French fans could scarcely believe the 16-0 halftime score against the team second in last year's tournament and a strong candidate this year. Reserves: Julien Marchand, Dany Priso, Demba Bemba, Felix Lambey, Gregory Alldritt, Baptiste Serin, Gael Fickou, Geoffrey Doumayrou.

He wrong-footed both Liam Williams and Gareth Anscombe by cutting infield, and smashed through hooker Ken Owens, and the French were off and running after just six minutes.

France head coach Jacques Brunel arrives for a training session at the National Rugby Center in Marcoussis, south of Paris, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019.

Morgan Parra teams up with Clermont teammate Camille Lopez at half-back for just the second time at global level and four years after their previous game together, in the 2015 Six Nations.

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