Chat’s injury leaves French front row under cosh
January 28 2020 10:35 PM
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Fabien Galthie
France head coach Fabien Galthie (in red jersey) takes part in a training session in the French riviera city of Niceahead of the upcoming Six Nations tournament. (AFP)

Reuters/Paris

France’s front row risks being exposed when they host England in their Six Nations opener on Sunday, after a calf injury to Racing 92 hooker Camille Chat left an already young squad further shorn of experience.
New coach Fabien Galthie has started to revamp a side that have slipped down the world rankings, with only one of 42 players in his squad under 30 and centre Gael Fickou, with 51 internationals under his belt, the most capped.
Chat may be only 24 but he has 26 caps. His absence could stretch beyond the Feb. 9 game against Italy, a major blow in a front row now featuring only one player – Jefferson Poirot – with more than 10 caps.
Julien Marchand, who has two caps, is now expected to start at the Stade de France in place of Chat, whose replacement in the squad is uncapped club team mate Teddy Baubigny. Tighthead prop Demba Bamba is also a doubt for Sunday because of a thigh problem, and should he pulled out, Galthie would be likely to turn to another uncapped player, Mohammed 
Haouas.
Two other members of the squad, centre Yvan Reilhac and Bordeaux-Begles back-rower Alexandre Roumat, have also yet to represent their country as full internationals.
Marchand, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Wales in February last year, said last week he was hungry for more action.
“I’m just happy to be here and to relive an experience that was too short,” said the 24-year-old, who has played just 33 minutes for France.


Doris to make Ireland 
debut against Scotland 
Caelan Doris will make his international debut after he was named in head coach Andy Farrell’s squad for their Six Nations opener against Scotland, the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) said yesterday. Former Ireland under-20 captain Doris will line out at number eight on Saturday, having impressed for Leinster this season.
The 21-year-old will be joined in the back row by CJ Stander and Josh van der Flier.
The front row is made up of Cian Healy, Rob Herring and Tadgh Furlong, with Iain Henderson and James Ryan named at lock. Farrell is also likely to hand a debut to Ronan Kelleher, who was named on the bench as cover for hooker Herring.


Starting XV: 15-Jordan Larmour, 14-Andrew Conway, 13-Garry Ringrose, 12-Bundee Aki, 11-Jacob Stockdale, 10-Jonathan Sexton (captain), 9-Conor Murray, 8-Caelan Doris, 7-Josh van der Flier, 6-CJ Stander, 5-James Ryan, 4-Iain Henderson, 3-Tadhg Furlong, 2-Rob Herring, 1-Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16-Ronan Kelleher, 17-Dave Kilcoyne, 18-Andrew Porter, 19-Devin Toner, 20-Peter O’Mahony, 21-John Cooney, 22-Ross Byrne, 23-Robbie Henshaw.



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