France vs Argentina: Youthful Les Bleus to face experienced Pumas in World Cup opener
Keep across skysports.com on Saturday for all France vs Argentina match coverage via our live blogs and reports from 8.15am
Last Updated: 20/09/19 9:25pm
France coach Jacques Brunel has favoured youth by picking Romain Ntamack at fly-half and Gregory Alldritt at No 8 to face Argentina in the Rugby World Cup Pool C opener on Saturday.
Ntamack, 20, the son of former France winger Emile Ntamack, has made only eight Test appearances. Despite that, he has been selected over the more experienced Camille Lopez to combine in the halves with Antoine Dupont.
Brunel has made another crucial pick at the back of the scrum in preferring Alldritt, who has three tries in seven Test appearances, to veteran Louis Picamoles, who is appearing in his third World Cup.
Maxime Medard starts at full-back ahead of Thomas Ramos, who was selected among the reserves along with Lopez and Picamoles. With Wesley Fofana injured, former rugby sevens winger Virimi Vakatawa will start at centre alongside Gael Fickou.
Rabah Slimani and Jefferson Poirot will start in the front row, as expected, on either side of hooker and captain Guilhem Guirado.
Both teams have points to prove, in a tough Pool C which also contains 2003 champions England, Tonga and the United States.
Argentina coach Mario Ledesma has named his strongest possible team as the Pumas look to snap a nine-match losing streak.
Nicolas Sanchez will renew the acquaintance with many of his French Top 14 rivals, having been given the nod at fly-half for the twice World Cup semi-finalists ahead of Benjamin Urdapilleta, who will start on the bench.
Former captain Agustin Creevy, who often rotates the start with Julian Montoya, has been named at hooker in a pack, led by current skipper Pablo Matera, that will need a big game to give their outside backs the chance to shine.
Ledesma has gone for the experienced Matias Moroni on the right wing with talented young flyer Santiago Carreras covering the back three from the bench.
With in-form England also in Pool C, Saturday's match at Tokyo Stadium could go a long way to deciding which of the group's two teams go through to the quarter-finals.
France: 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Virimi Vakatawa, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 1 Jefferson Poirot, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 3 Rabah Slimani, 4 Arthur Iturria, 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 7 Charles Ollivon, 8 Gregory Alldritt.
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Bernard le Roux, 20 Louis Picamoles, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Camille Lopez, 23 Thomas Ramos
Argentina: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Matias Moroni, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo De la Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy, 3 Juan Figallo, 4 Guido Petti, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 6 Pablo Matera (c), 7 Marcos Kremer, 8 Javier Ortega Desio.
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 23 Santiago Carrera