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Galthie names 12 from World Cup in match-day 23 for Six Nations opener

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Paris (AFP)

New France head coach Fabien Galthie on Thursday named nine survivors from the Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat by Wales in the starting XV for the weekend's Six Nations opener against England.

Former Les Bleus captain Galthie, who took over from Jacques Brunel after the tournament last year, kept faith with half-backs Romain Ntamack and Antoine Dupont as well as the centre pairing of Virimi Vakatawa and Gael Fickou.

Loose-head prop Jefferson Poirot drops to the bench, one of three further surviviors from the World Cup along with Baptiste Serin and Vincent Rattez.

Galthie handed Test debuts to tight-head prop Mohamed Haouas and full-back Anthony Bouthier who replace the experienced Rabah Slimani and Maxime Medard, neither of whom were considered for selection.

There are a further pair of international rookies on the bench in lock Boris Palu and back-rower Cameron Woki.

Flanker Charles Ollivon captains the side following Guilhem Guirado's retirement.

South-African born lock Paul Willemse and winger Teddy Thomas return to the side after missing the competition in Japan.

France team to play England in the Six Nations on Sunday:

Anthony Bouthier; Teddy Thomas, Virimi Vakatawa, Gael Fickou, Damian Penaud; Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Gregory Alldritt, Charles Ollivon (capt), Francois Cros; Paul Willemse, Bernard Le Roux; Mohamed Haouas, Julien Marchand, Cyril Baille

Replacements: Peato Mauvaka, Jefferson Poirot, Demba Bamba, Boris Palu, Cameron Woki, Baptiste Serin, Mathieu Jalibert, Vincent Rattez

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