Vakatawa among four France debutants to face Italy


Virimi Vakatawa is one of four France debutants named in the starting line-up by Guy Noves for Saturday's Six Nations opener against Italy.

Fiji-born Vakatawa, 23, was a surprise inclusion in Noves' squad and the sevens wing has been given the nod to start at Stade de France.

Sebastien Bezy comes in at scrum-half, while Jonathan Danty will also make his Les Bleus bow against Jacques Brunel's men.

Lock Paul Jedrasiak gets his chance at the start of a new era for France under head coach Noves, with Camille Chat, Jefferson Poirot and Yacouba Camara poised to make their debuts from the bench.

Hooker Guilhem Guirado captains his country for the first time after replacing the retired Thierry Dusautoir.


France: Maxime Medard, Hugo Bonneval, Gael Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Virimi Vakatawa, Jules Plisson, Sebastien Bezy; Eddy Ben Arous, Guilhem Guirado, Rabah Sliman, Paul Jedrasiak, Yoann Maestri, Wenceslas Lauret, Damien Chouly, Louis Picamoles.

Replacements: Camille Chat, Uini Atonio, Jefferson Poirot, Alexandre Flanquart, Yacouba Camara, Maxime Machenaud, Jean-Marc Doussain, Maxime Mermoz.