France welcome back Vakatawa but Ntamack starts on the bench against England

VIRIMI VAKATAWA WILL make his first appearance of the 2021 Six Nations this weekend after being named in the France team to play England (KO 4.45pm, Virgin Media One, ITV). 

The Racing 92 star has been unavailable for Les Bleus due to a knee injury, but is named at 13 in place of Arthur Vincent for Saturday’s trip to Twickenham.

France have only played two fixtures in this year’s championship, beating Italy and Ireland, with their round three fixture against Scotland postponed due an outbreak of Covid-19 in the French camp.

Having recently won in Dublin for the first time in a decade, Grand Slam-chasing France will be hoping to pick up where they left off as they seek a first Six Nations victory at Twickenham since 2005.

And Vakatawa’s return is not the only boost, with Romain Ntamack also available after recovering from a double jaw fracture.

Like Vakatawa, Ntamack has played no part in this year’s Six Nations but has to make due with a place on the bench as Fabien Galthié opts to stick with the half-back pairing of Matthieu Jalibert and Antoine Dupont.

Galthié also makes a couple of changes to his pack. In the second-row, Romain Taofifénua comes in in place of the injured Bernard Le Roux, while Dylan Cretin gets the nod ahead of Anthony Jelonch in the backrow.

France (to play England)

15. Brice Dulin

14. Damian Penaud

13. Virimi Vakatawa

12. Gael Fickou

11. Teddy Thomas

10. Matthieu Jalibert

9. Antoine Dupont

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1. Cyril Baille

2. Julian Marchand

3. Mohamed Haouas

4. Romain Taofifénua

5. Paul Willemse

6. Dylan Cretin

7. Charles Ollivon (captain)

8. Gregory Alldritt

16. Camille Chat
17. Jean-Baptiste Gros
18. Dorian Aldegheri
19. Cyril Cazeau
20. Cameron Woki
21. Anthony Jelonch
22. Baptiste Serin
23. Romain Ntamack