TOKYO, 20 Sep – Jacques Brunel has warned his rivals they face a double threat from fly-half. The France coach believes Romain Ntamack and Camille Lopez can both be decisive.
Brunel has opted for youth for Les Bleus’ first match against Argentina at Tokyo Stadium on Saturday, 21 September. He has handed playmaking duties to 20-year-old Ntamack while 30-year-old Lopez, pictured above, will begin on the bench.
.@FranceRugby have announced their team to play @lospumas on Saturday, at 16:15hrs (GMT+9) #RWC2019#RWCTokyo #FRAvARG— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 19, 2019
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"He has started for us several times and we think that having Romain at the beginning of the game and Camille Lopez in the second part is the most satisfactory solution for us," Brunel said.
"We have an experienced bench that will hopefully bring something to the second half of the game. Our thinking is that the game will probably be close and the second half decisive."
Ntamack will line up alongside Toulouse team-mate Antoine Dupont who starts at scrum-half. He also has club-mates Maxime Medard, Yoann Huget and Gael Fickou with him in the backline.
His makes his first World Cup start 24 years after his father Emile's World Cup debut in South Africa.
"We have taken Romain Ntamack to be a fly-half and not a centre," Brunel said. "He has played in this position several times.
"He was a fly-half for us before and showed he was able to play at a very good level in this position, even if he hasn't played much there for his club recently. He has the qualities to make the most of it: technically, physically. I don't have any concerns about that."