England v France: Raphael Ibanez dismisses claims fall Nations Cup final will be a farce

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Gabin Villiere was one of 11 debutants named in the France squad that beat Italy last weekend
Date: Sunday 6 December Start: 14h00 GMT Lieu: Twickenham
Blanket: Live on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sounds, the BBC Sport app and website with live commentary

France manager Raphael Ibanez has dismissed claims that their fall Nations Cup final against England would be a ‘farce’ with Les Bleus fielding an inexperienced side at Twickenham.

Coach Fabien Galthie is without around 25 key players due to a deal with the country’s top league.

The starting XV of England has 813 selections against 68 for France.

“The players have been exemplary in their preparation and they all deserve their caps,” said Ibanez.

“It must also be recognized that seen from abroad this final can be considered” a farce “. We can understand them. Our two national selections are not on the same footing.

“We won our matches to reach the final. This is the result of the mindset of the players and all the efforts so far.

“They are a talented team that we believe in and who will maybe move mountains this Sunday. We are not going to let go. “

A deal between the French federation and the Top14 league meant players could only play three tests during the fall window.

As a result, Galthie named an inexperienced team, with full-back Brice Dulin the most capped player out of 30.

After naming 11 newbies in the team that beat Italy Last weekend, Galthie was also without scrum-half Baptiste Serin and winger Teddy Thomas, with both players reaching their three-game limit.

Baptiste Couilloud will be captain of the team from the age of 9 on his first international start, while Alivereti Raka will take the start in place of Thomas.

Uncapped number eight Selevasio Tolofua will also start on Sunday, with five more in the XV with just one selection.

A full-fledged France team were the last team to beat England at the start of the 2020 Six Nations, but Les Bleus eventually finished second behind Eddie Jones’ side with a points difference.

“When we started together we wanted France to be back among the best nations in the world and we wanted to be title contenders,” Galthie added.

“These inexperienced players had to learn quickly and they learned quickly. “

Line-up

England: Daly; Watson, Slade, Farrell (capitaine), mai; Ford, Youngs; M Vunipola, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Launchbury, Curry, Underhill, B Vunipola.

Substitutes: Cowan-Dickie, Genge, Stuart, Hill, Earl, Robson, Malins, Marchant.

France: Dulin; Raka, Moefana, Danty, Villière; Jalibert, Couilloud; Kolingar, Bourgarit, Aldegheri, Geraci, Pesenti, Woki, Jelonch, Tofofua.

Substitutes: Mauvaka, Neti, Atonio, Ducat, Macalou, Bezy, Carbonel, Barassi.

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