ASM Clermont Auvergne wing Damian Penaud, who scored three tries in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup pool stage, returns to the France starting XV as they look to secure the Six Nations Grand Slam against England at the Stade de France on Saturday.
EPCR European Player of Year nominee Penaud, who helped Clermont reach the Round of 16 where they will face Leicester Tigers next month, missed France’s 13-9 win against Wales at the Principality Stadium last weekend through illness.
The 25-year-old’s recall is the only change made by head coach Fabien Galthié as France gun for their fourth Six Nations Grand Slam and their first since 2010.
🇫🇷 @francerugby and @englandrugby lock horns on Saturday 🏴#ThrowbackThursday to last year's French-English quarter-final clash which saw @staderochelais come out on top 💪#HeinekenChampionsCup #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/bkv58kiSS7
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) March 17, 2022
The Stade Rochelais trio of prop Uini Atonio, No.8 Gregory Alldritt and centre Jonathan Danty retain their places in the team, along with Union Bordeaux-Bègles’ Cameron Woki at lock, prior to their Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 clash against each other next month.
Racing 92 centre Gaël Fickou and Montpellier Hérault Rugby lock Paul Willemse, whose clubs go up against Stade Français Paris and Harlequins respectively in the last 16, also start.
Meanwhile, reigning European champions Stade Toulousain, who will be hoping to overcome Ulster Rugby next month, boast prop Cyril Baille, hooker Julien Marchand, flankers Francois Cros and Anthony Jelonch, scrum-half Antoine Dupont and fly-half Romain Ntamack in the France XV.
As for England, they recall Leicester veteran Ben Youngs at scrum-half and move club colleague Freddie Steward from full-back to the wing. With prop Ellis Genge retaining his place, there are three Tigers in the England XV.
There are also three Exeter Chiefs in the side – No.8 Sam Simmonds, centre Henry Slade and wing Jack Nowell – while Harlequins provide fly-half Marcus Smith and centre Joe Marchant.