Six Nations: Atonio returns for France as Wales change six for Stade de France finale

By Sports Desk March 16, 2023

France will welcome Uini Atonio back from suspension for the final game of their Six Nations campaign against Wales, who have made six changes for their trip to the Stade de France.

Atonio was given a three-week ban following a high tackle on Ireland hooker Rob Herring in last month's 32-19 defeat in Dublin – the only loss of France's campaign.

That reverse in Ireland means France have only a slim chance of defending their title on Saturday, as they need to post a bonus-point win over Wales before hoping England can upset Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

Coach Fabien Galthie described Atonio – who will win his 50th cap against Wales – as an "indisputable starter" after bringing him in for Dorian Aldegheri, who has a groin injury.

Meanwhile, Romain Taofifenua will replace injured lock Paul Willemse in the hosts' only other change from their crushing 53-10 win over England at Twickenham last week.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has made six changes ahead of the game, in which Taulupe Faletau will win his 100th cap.

Fly-half Dan Biggar, centres George North and Nick Tompkins and lock Alun Wyn Jones are among those recalled after last week's win over Italy in Rome.

Louis Rees-Zammit and Aaron Wainwright have also been brought in, with Jac Morgan and injured full-back Liam Williams among those to make way.

"I think France last weekend put in probably one of the best performances I've seen in a long, long time," Gatland said.

"They're the number two team in the world. They bring a really physical approach to the way they play and they've tended to start well.

"We've got to go out there and start well, make sure we're in that arm wrestle with them and give ourselves that opportunity."

Teams:

France: Thomas Ramos, Damian Penaud, Gael Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Ethan Dumortier, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Uini Atonio, Thibaut Flament, Romain Taofifenua, Francois Cros, Charles Ollivon, Gregory Alldritt.

Replacements: Peato Mauvaka, Reda Wardi, Sipili Falatea, Bastien Chalureau, Seckou Macalou, Maxime Lucu, Yoram Moefana, Melvyn Jaminet.

Wales: Louis Rees-Zammit, Josh Adams, George North, Nick Tompkins, Rio Dyer, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Bradley Roberts, Gareth Thomas, Dillon Lewis, Dafydd Jenkins, Tommy Reffell, Tomos Williams, Owen Williams, Leigh Halfpenny.

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