Cyril Baille and Jonathan Danty make their comeback from injuries after being named in the France 23 to face Namibia in their third World Cup match in Marseille on Thursday.
Baille, considered one of the world’s best loosehead props, sustained a calf injury in the pre-tournament warm-up victory over Scotland in August.
Danty sat out the opening two matches of the World Cup with a thigh injury, but has been given the green light to return to a team that closely resembles the one that beat New Zealand 27-13 in the opening game.
A second-string side struggled past Uruguay 27-12 last week, and only three from that team keep their place: winger Louis Bielle-Biarrey, lock Cameron Woki and loose forward Anthony Jelonch.
No 8 Gregory Alldritt, a key player for France, is rested with a painful knee, with Jelonch taking his place alongside flankers Charles Ollivon and Francois Cros.
“We took the decision with him during yesterday’s training,” coach Fabien Galthie said of the decision to omit Alldritt. “Greg felt a little discomfort in his knee so will be rested.”
Antoine Dupont will lead the side from scrum-half, yet to lose a match on home soil when leading the team in 18 Tests. His only career loss as captain came against Ireland earlier this year in Dublin.
Matthieu Jalibert starts at flyhalf, with Danty pairing up with Gael Fickou in midfield. The back three comprises Bielle-Biarrey and Damian Penaud on the wings and Thomas Ramos at fullback.
Thibaud Flament links up with Woki in the second row, while Baille packs down alongside hooker Peato Mauvaka and tighthead prop Uini Atonio.
France will be massive favourites going into the match against Namibia, the African side having already lost 52-8 to Italy and 71-3 to the All Blacks in Pool A.
France wrap up their group stage with a game against Italy in Lyon on 6 October.
France – 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Louis Bielle-Biarrey, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Antoine Dupont (c), 8 Anthony Jelonch, 7 Charles Ollivon, 6 Francois Cros, 5 Thibaud Flament, 4 Cameron Woki, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Peato Mauvaka, 1 Cyril Baille.
Subs: 16 Pierre Bourgarit, 17 Reda Wardi, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Paul Boudehent, 21 Baptiste Couilloud, 22 Yoram Moefana, 23 Melvyn Jaminet.
© Agence France-Presse
Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP