PARIS (Reuters) - France coach Fabien Galthie made two changes to his team to face Scotland in the Six Nations on Sunday as winger Teddy Thomas was left out of the squad.
Thomas showed worrying defensive shortcomings in the first three games and was not included among the replacements to face Scotland.
Damian Penaud made his return from injury after missing the victories against England, Italy and Wales.
“Damian Penaud was supposed to start against England (in the first match) but he got injured the day before. He came back with us the fortnight before the Wales game and was excellent during training,” Galthie told a news conference on Thursday.
“So he is a starter again but Teddy Thomas is still part of the France group. He is not in the 28 because we preferred to include Gabriel Ngandebe.”
Prop Jefferson Poirot will start in the absence of Cyril Baille, who sustained a shoulder injury in the 27-23 win in Cardiff in the previous round.
Grand Slam hopefuls France top the rankings with 13 points, four ahead of England, whose trip to Italy was postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.
A win in Scotland would leave Les Bleus needing to beat Ireland on March 14 to secure their first Grand Slam since 2010.
“We hear the praise,” said Galthie. “Our goal is to win matches, to win titles, quickly. But the danger is there and we are well aware of it.”
15-Anthony Bouthier, 14-Damian Penaud, 13-Virimi Vakatawa, 12-Arthur Vincent, 11-Gael Fickou, 10-Romain Ntamack, 9-Anthony Dupont, 8-Gregory Alldritt, 7-Charles Ollivon (captain), 6-Francois Cros, 5-Paul Willemse, 4-Bernard Le Roux, 3-Mohamed Haouas, 2-Julien Marchand, 1-Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16-Camille Chat, 17-Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18-Demba Bamba, 19-Romain Taofifenua, 20-Dylan Cretin, 21-Baptiste Serin, 22-Mathieu Jalibert, 23-Thomas Ramos
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Alex Richardson and Toby Davis