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Friday 2 December 2016

Wesley Fofana back from injury as Saint-Andre rests squad

Wesley Fofana
Wesley Fofana

Wesley Fofana is back from injury as France coach Philippe Saint-Andre rests almost all of the team from Les Bleus' opening game for tomorrow's Rugby World Cup Pool D match against Romania.

Of the 15 players who started the campaign with a 32-10 victory against Italy on Saturday, only wing Noa Nakaitaci and number eight Louis Picamoles were named in the starting line-up for tomorrow's game at the Olympic Stadium (Live TV3 8.0).

Fofana, who was ruled out of the opener with a thigh injury, will start at centre alongside Gael Fickou.

Morgan Parra and Remi Tales come in for the Toulon pair of Sebastien Tillous-Borde and Frederic Michalak at scrumhalf and flyhalf.

Prop Vincent Debaty was named captain in place of the rested flanker Thierry Dusautoir.

Romania named their most experienced ever World Cup team for the game. Mihai Macovei leads a starting side with an average age of over 29 and a combined 684 test appearances.

Coach Lynn Howells made one change from the team that played in their last warm-up match, a 21-16 defeat by Tonga in Bucharest, Mihaita Lazar at loosehead prop in place of Andrei Ursache.

Tighthead prop Paulica Ion and flyhalf Danut Dumbrava will equal the Romania record of playing in four Rugby World Cups and Ovidiu Tonita could join them if he comes off the bench.

"The back line has pretty much picked itself with the experience they have.

"The forwards, however, have given me a bit more of a headache," Welshman Howells told reporters yesterday.

"The first game is always the most important of the tournament and the lads I've picked are in the best shape and used to playing at the top level."

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