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France has selected Lucu as their scrum-half for their opening match against Ireland in the Six Nations tournament.
Rugby union Sport

France has selected Lucu as their scrum-half for their opening match against Ireland in the Six Nations tournament.

Fabien Galthié believes that the French team needs to develop the ability to perform well without Antoine Dupont, and has called upon Maxime Lucu to step up and take his place before their first Six Nations match against Ireland.

The Toulouse scrum-half is a major absentee for the championship as he focuses on his country’s sevens squad for the Paris Olympics this year. The understudy Lucu will wear the France No 9 shirt for the curtain-raiser in Marseille on Friday evening, with the uncapped Nolann Le Garrec providing cover from the bench.

Gregory Alldritt, the No 8 player for La Rochelle, has assumed the role of captain from Dupont, who has been named player of the tournament in three of the last four years.

Galthié, the coach of France’s national team, expressed his appreciation for Antoine’s decision to participate in the Olympics. He believes it is beneficial to step out of our comfort zones and create new opportunities for other players. Maxime Lucu has been a valuable member of our team since the beginning and consistently performs well.

It is his responsibility to assume control, utilizing his strengths and composure. We believe that Nolann is prepared to take on the position. I view the competitiveness in French rugby as a benefit. Greg, Thomas Ramos as the full-back, and Maxime Lucu are now members of the leadership team and must adapt to playing without Antoine. It will be intriguing to witness this new aspect of the French national team.

Galthié has made five adjustments to his original starting lineup for France’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final match against South Africa on October 15th. Yoram Moefana has been chosen over Louis Bielle-Biarrey for the left wing position, and Paul Gabrillagues and Paul Willemse will now be playing as the new lock pair for Les Bleus. Francois Cros has taken the place of the injured Anthony Jelonch as blindside flanker in the other change.

France, who were stripped of their grand slam champion status by Ireland in the previous year, are considered the top contenders for the title in the upcoming competition. According to Galthié, every game in the past four years has been crucial for a win. The team has always been aware of the pressure to succeed. However, they must overcome their opponents, who are the main obstacles. Ireland was ranked as the number one team before the World Cup, but they have now dropped to second place.

“We are aware of our upcoming matches against South Africa and Ireland, who also suffered a quarter-final loss to New Zealand. We understand that losses and challenges are a natural part of our journey. In fact, we embrace the pressure and demands that come with our position and consider them as opportunities for growth. We are a resilient team.”

Unfortunately, due to a shoulder problem, Garry Ringrose will not be able to make his Six Nations debut against France. However, Calvin Nash from Munster and Joe McCarthy from Leinster will both be making their debuts as the wings and lock, respectively. Jack Crowley has been chosen as the fly-half for the opening match.

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The coach of Ireland, Andy Farrell, has only made four alterations to the team that lost 28-24 to New Zealand in the quarter-finals on October 14th. Robbie Henshaw will be replacing the injured Ringrose.

In 2025, the city of Cardiff has been chosen to host the finals for both the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup. The games will be held at the Principality Stadium, which can hold up to 74,000 people. The following year in 2026, the finals will be held at Athletic Bilbao’s San Mames stadium, with a capacity of 53,000, which previously hosted the finals in 2018.

Source: theguardian.com