France coach Jacques Brunel has handed his battered squad a chance to make amends for the crushing defeat against England at Twickenham.
The decision means that Brunel is ignoring calls to drop underperformers and promote more youngsters from the team that won last year’s Under 20 World Cup.
Romain Ntamack and Demba Bamba have stepped up. Brunel named several others among the substitutes at Twickenham and some are still involved at Under 20 level. But the coach has resisted the temptation to start building for the future.
Les Bleus were outsmarted, outplayed and outmuscled by Eddie Jones’ side. But Brunel has called up the same 31 men to prepare for the visit of Scotland to the Stade de France on 23 February.
The group will gather on Friday at the national sports facility at Marcoussis on the edge of Paris.
Full back, Yoann Huget, who left the field at Twickenham with a head knock, has passed the ‘back to play’ protocol. Meanwhile, Danny Priso, the prop who lasted only five minutes after coming off the bench, is also fit.
There is also better news for Brunel with regard to two of his more experienced campaigners. Wesley Fofana and Maxime Médard both played in the tournament opener. But the duo missed out on the trip to London after picking up knocks in the loss against Wales. They are now ready to resume training.
It’s a similar story for Uini Atonio, the New Zealand-born prop who qualifies for France on residential grounds. He is also available to meet the Scots after missing out on Sunday.
Written by Colin Renton