Toulouse centre Romain Ntamack will make his France debut on Friday in their Six Nations opener against Wales in Paris, having impressed head coach Jacques Brunel throughout this season’s Heineken Champions Cup.
The 19-year-old centre – who is the son of European Cup winner Emile – has featured in five Heineken Champions Cup matches this term, scoring a try in Round 4 against Wasps to help Toulouse reach the last eight of the competition, where they will meet Racing 92 on March 31.
The debutant will join full-back Maxime Medard – who has scored three tries in this season’s competition – and wing Yoann Huget in a Toulouse trio of backs in the France XV.
Brunel said of Ntamack: “Everyone recognises the quality of the kid. We’ve been expecting him for a while.
Félicitations à @Huget14, @MaxMedard et @RomainNtamack, dont ce sera la 1ère sélection, titulaires vendredi face au Pays de Galles pour l'ouverture du @SixNations_FR ! Notre capitaine Julien #Marchand sera remplaçant pour cette rencontre. Allez les Bleus ! https://t.co/wqox5ih0E2
— Stade Toulousain (@StadeToulousain) January 30, 2019
“He’s shown since the start of the season that he can adapt to the level he is faced with. He still has another step to take, but we don’t doubt that he can overcome that obstacle.”
Montpellier lock Paul Willemse will also win his first French cap, while Racing 92 flanker Wenceslas Lauret makes his 21st international appearance.
Toulouse hooker Julien Marchand will win his second cap if he comes off the bench at the Stade de France.