Rugby-Dumortier to start against Italy as France welcome Laporte ahead of Six Nations

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - France v England - Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France - March 19, 2022 France head coach Fabien Galthie before the match REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) -Lyon winger Ethan Dumortier will celebrate his first cap for France as the defending champions start their Six Nations campaign with a trip to Italy on Sunday.

As Les Bleus continue their journey towards the World Cup held in France later this year, Dumortier stands in for Gabin Villiere, who was ruled out of the whole championship with a fibula fracture.

Thomas Ramos was named at fullback by head coach Fabien Galthie on Thursday at the expense of Melvyn Jaminet, who does not even feature in the 23-man squad.

Gael Fickou and Yoram Moefana will pair up at centre.

"We finished second twice in a row before winning it with a Grand Slam (last year) but our journey is not finished," Galthie told a news conference.

"We are going to get better because our team has not yet reached the age of maturity," he added, looking ahead to the Sept. 8-Oct. 28 World Cup, after the team welcomed the disgraced Bernard Laporte at their training camp.

"Our mission is a purely sporting one. Last night we invited Bernard, because if France organise the World Cup, it's thanks to him," general manager Raphael Ibanez said.

"And that's where the deep motivation of our players comes from. The staff, it's him, too."

Laporte resigned as president of the French rugby federation (FFR) last Friday after being convicted of influence peddling and illegally acquiring assets last December.


15-Thomas Ramos, 14-Damian Penaud, 13-Gael Fickou, 12-Yoram Moefana, 11-Ethan Dumortier, 10-Romain Ntamack, 9-Antoine Dupont (capt); 8-Gregory Alldritt, 7-Charles Ollivon, 6-Anthony Jelonch, 5-Paul Willemse, 4-Thibaud Flament, 3-Uini Atonio, 2-Julien Marchand, 1-Cyril Baille

Replacements: 16-Gaetan Barlot, 17-Reda Wardi, 18-Sipili Falatea, 19-Romain Taofifenua, 20-Thomas Lavault, 21-Sekou Macalou, 22-Nolan Le Garrec, 23-Matthieu Jalibert

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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