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19-Year-Old Matthieu Jalibert Starts For France In Team To Take On Ireland

Jacques Brunel has named his first matchday 23 as France head coach for his side’s NatWest 6 Nations opener against Ireland at the Stade de France on Saturday. 

As expected, Brunel has named a number of uncapped players in his squad with debuts expected to be a plenty when his side have completed their 80 minutes against Joe Schmidt’s side.

Two uncapped players are in the starting XV for France, Matthieu Jalibert and Geoffrey Palis. Jalibert will have the task of guiding his side to victory from the pivotal out-half position, the 19-year-old is one of the most exciting players in French rugby at the moment and although his form for Bordeaux-Begles has been very good this season, this will be a serious step up in intensity.

There is no place in the squad for Sekou Macalou who was name-checked by Schmidt at last week’s Six Nations launch in London. Maxime Machenaud starts at scrum-half in place of Morgan Parra who was ruled out with a knee injury while Guilhem Guirado has successfully recovered from a stomach bug to take his place in the starting team as captain.

FRANCE: Palis – Thomas, Lamerat, Chavancy, Vakatawa – (o) Jalibert, (m) Machenaud – Gourdon, Y. Camara, Lauret – Vahaamahina, Iturria – Slimani, Guirado (cape), Poirot

Replacements: Pelissié, Priso, Gomes Sa, Gabrillagues, Tauleigne, Dupont, Belleau, Fall

Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email seanmc@punditarena.com or on Twitter