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Rugby World Cup: France team profile

Hosts France have made fantastic strides under head coach Fabien Galthie and look well-placed to finally win the Rugby World Cup for the first time this autumn.

Confirmed Squad


Pierre Bourgarit (La Rochelle), Julien Marchand (Toulouse), Peato Mauvaka (Toulouse), Dorian Aldegheri (Toulouse), Uini Atonio (La Rochelle), Cyril Baille (Toulouse), Sipili Falatea (Bordeaux-Begles), Jean-Baptiste Gros (Toulon), Reda Wardi (La Rochelle), Bastein Chalureau (Montpellier), Thibaud Flament (Toulouse), Romain Taofifenua (Lyon), Cameron Woki (Racing 92), Gregory Alldritt (La Rochelle), Paul Boudehent (La Rochelle), Francois Cros (Toulouse), Anthony Jelonch (Toulouse), Sekou Macalou (Stade Francais), Charles Ollivon (Toulon).


Antoine Dupont (Toulouse), Maxime Lucu (Bordeaux-Begles), Baptiste Couilloud (Lyon), Baptiste Serin (Toulon), Antoine Hastoy (La Rochelle), Matthieu Jalibert (Bordeaux-Begles), Jonathan Danty (La Rochelle), Gael Fickou (Racing), Yoram Moefana (Bordeaux-Begles), Arthur Vincent (Montpellier), Louis Bielle-Biarrey (Bordeaux-Begles), Damian Penaud (Bordeaux-Begles), Gabin Villiere (Toulon), Melvyn Jaminet (Toulouse), Thomas Ramos (Toulouse).


Galthie has demonstrated the same focus and determination as a coach that characterised a playing career that saw him become Men's World Player of the Year in 2002.

The boss was included as part of Jacques Brunel's staff in 2019 in order to ease his transition into the top role and has flourished, with his intelligent yet unrelenting demeanour getting the best out of his talented squad.

Having captained Les Bleus to the Grand Slam in 2002, Galthie coached his country to the same success in 2022.

After being part of the side that lost the 1999 World Cup final, the former scrum-half will be desperate to go one better, especially with an expectant home crowd to satisfy. 

Possible First XV 

15. Thomas Ramos
14. Damian Penaud
13. Gael Fickou
12. Jonathan Danty
11. Gabin Villiere
10. Romain Ntamack
9. Antoine Dupont
8. Gregory Alldritt
7. Charles Ollivon
6. Francois Cros 
5. Paul Willemse
4. Cameron Woki
3. Uini Atonio
2. Julien Marchand
1. Cyril Baille


No team is perfect, but there have been times in the last four years where France have come close.

Les Bleus have regained their reputation for Gallic flair, moving the ball with speed, especially early on in matches, courtesy of their powerful back-row and hard-running yet skilful backs.

Meanwhile, their defence, designed by Shaun Edwards and led by centre Gael Fickou, means they have the physicality to dominate opponents.

It is also worth noting that Brunel's decision, perhaps with an eye on this event, to pick a youthful squad for the 2019 tournament in Japan, means the majority of their big names have previous World Cup experience that should help them handle the pressure of being the hosts.


An area of potential concern for the French is the line-out. Back-rowers Gregory Aldritt and Charles Ollivon were previously their sole recognised jumpers due to a preference for favouring grunt in the locking positions.

Athletic duo Cameron Woki and Thibaud Flament look set to interchange alongside the hefty Paul Willemse in the second row and teams could target hooker Julien Marchand.

There is also the issue of a potential injury to captain Antoine Dupont. The skipper runs his country's attack from scrum-half and, while deputy Maxime Lucu is a fine operator, few on the planet can match Dupont's influence.

France's intensity also means they have a habit of falling off the pace in the second half of matches.

Galthie has looked to counter this by favouring a six-two split among the substitutes and, while this helps shore up the forwards, it means they often lack creative reinforcements from the bench.

Key players 

Antoine Dupont  

Arguably the standout player in world rugby, Dupont is fast, strong and incredibly skilful. His defence means he could probably play in the back-row and his ability with the ball in hand makes him both a running and playmaking threat.

While most countries rely on their fly-half to run their attack, French teams often play off their number nine and, like Galthie, Dupont is the archetypical ‘Petit General'.

Thomas Ramos 

Dupont's Toulouse colleague Thomas Ramos has added an extra dimension to Les Bleus' attack over the past year, while his educated boot from both open play and the kicking tee only add to his importance.

Ramos starts at full-back, but is happy to step in at fly-half when Romain Ntamack is having an off-day, with his playmaking skills and incisive running have helped him become arguably the premier player in his position.

Gregory Alldritt 

Number eight Alldritt is another who can argue he is the best in the world and, after a quiet year or so, found his form in the spring to help La Rochelle to a second straight European Champions Cup title.

Alldritt's power in the tight is a big part of France's play, while he is a vital option at the line-out.

Ones to watch 

Romain Ntamack

Ntamack's form has been questioned over the last year, but the fly-half's playmaking axis with Toulouse team-mates Dupont and Ramos can be deadly.

With Ramos happy to step in, the 24-year-old - the son of former international Emile - has a happy knack for finding space in the wide channels and setting up his three-quarters.

Damian Penaud

Another player whose father represented Les Bleus is Damian Penaud, a winger who mixes a finisher's scoring instinct with the playmaking skills of his dad, former fly-half Alain.

Penaud scored a tournament-best five tries in the Six Nations and with his nifty footwork matching his speed of thought, expect him to star for his country.

Uini Atonio

Although not as influential as loosehead prop Cyril Baille or as talented as hooker Marchand, France's hopes could hinge on tighthead Uini Atonio's fitness.

The 33-year-old has been much-maligned for both his fitness and for failing to make the grade in his homeland of New Zealand.

However, tighthead has been a real headache for France in recent years and Atonio's steadying presence, often literally, makes him vital to Galthie's plans.


  • To Win Outright - 11/4
  • To Reach the Final - 6/5
  • To Win Pool - 10/11

All odds correct at time of publishing and subject to change.

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