France drop Raka for final World Cup warm-up

Paris (AFP) –


Winger Alivereti Raka was dropped from France's side to face Italy this weekend in their final warm-up Test ahead of the Rugby World Cup, head coach Jacques Brunel announced on Tuesday.

Fijian-born Raka, 24, started in both of Les Bleus' previous pre-tournament fixtures against Scotland but was omitted from the matchday squad to host the Azzurri in Paris on Friday.

The Clermont powerhouse, who scored on his debut against the Scots in Nice and has been replaced by Gael Fickou, obtained his French citizenship last December after impressive displays for the Top 14 outfit.

Only six faces remain from the defeat in Edinburgh as Arthur Iturria moves to second-row and Fickou, who played centre at Murrayfield, lines up on the left wing, in the two positional changes.

Captain Guilhem Guirado is on the bench with loose-head prop Jefferson Poirot leading the side, as he did in Nice.

Raka's club team-mate Camille Lopez also misses out altogether to 20-year-old Toulouse fly-half Romain Ntamack.

The whole back-row is changed with 78-time international Louis Picamoles starting at number eight alongside Yacouba Camara and Wenceslas Lauret.

France team to play Scotland (15-1):

Maxime Medard; Damian Penaud, Sofiane Guitoune, Wesley Fofana, Gael Fickou; Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Louis Picamoles, Yacouba Camara, Wenceslas Lauret; Romain Taofifenua, Arthur Iturria; Rabah Slimani, Camille Chat, Jefferson Poirot (capt)

Replacements: Guilhem Guirado, Cyril Baille, Emerick Setiano, Felix Lambey, Francois Cros, Baptiste Serin, Virimi Vakatawa, Thomas Ramos