Atonio back to prop up France against Wales in Six Nations
Thu, Mar 16, 2023
Other News (AP)
PARIS (AP) - Uini Atonio was immediately recalled at the end of his suspension to prop up France against Wales in the Six Nations on Saturday.
Atonio was banned for three weeks for a dangerous tackle in the loss to Ireland. Against Wales at Stade de France, he will play his 50th test.
Dorian Aldegheri, the starting tighthead as France crushed England 53-10 at Twickenham last weekend, wasn't considered because of a groin issue.
Romain Taofifenua replaced the injured Paul Willemse in the only other change, with cover from Montpellier's Bastien Chalureau, who came off the bench in the autumn against South Africa and Japan. The backline was unchanged.
Defending champion France is the only side which can overtake unbeaten Ireland for the title if the Irish trip up against England in Dublin.
Wales finally claimed a win last weekend when it beat Italy 29-17 in Rome.
Louis Rees-Zammit will make his third start at fullback for Wales with Liam Williams out injured and despite Leigh Halfpenny being fit.
Wales made six changes including the return of former captains Dan Biggar and Alun Wyn Jones at flyhalf and lock respectively.
Biggar and Jones have displaced Owen Williams and Dafydd Jenkins to the reserves.
George North and Nick Tompkins were the starting midfield for the first time in this championship. Aaron Wainwright was on the blindside flank in his first appearance in this championship, ahead of Jac Morgan, who started three of the previous four tests but injured an ankle in training.
The match will mark No. 8 Taulupe Faletau's 100th for Wales.
France: Thomas Ramos, Damian Penaud, Gael Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Ethan Dumortier, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont (captain); Gregory Alldritt, Charles Ollivon, Francois Cros, Romain Taofifenua, Thibaud Flament, Uini Atonio, Julien Marchand, Cyril Baille. Reserves: Peato Mauvaka, Reda Wardi, Sipili Falatea, Bastien Chalureau, Sekou Macalou, Maxime Lucu, Yoram Moefana, Melvyn Jaminet.
Wales: Louis Rees-Zammit, Josh Adams, George North, Nick Tompkins, Rio Dyer, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright, Alun Wyn Jones, Adam Beard, Tomas Francis, Ken Owens (captain), Wyn Jones. Reserves: Bradley Roberts, Gareth Thomas, Dillon Lewis, Dafydd Jenkins, Tommy Reffell, Tomos Williams, Owen Williams, Leigh Halfpenny.
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