Combined XV: France v Wales

Combined XV: France v Wales

France host Wales in the opening 2019 Six Nations fixture. Jacques Brunel has sprung a surprise selection in Romain Ntamack who ultimately replaces France's vice-captain Mathieu Bastareaud in the side while Warren Gatland has named a reasonably settled side considering the multiple injuries the Welsh boss has had to deal with. 

We have compiled a combined XV of the two sides. 

15 - Liam Williams - Wales

The Welsh outside back beats the inform Maxime Medard to the full back role. Williams is one of the best outside backs in World Rugby and is a perfect replacement for Leigh Halfpenny who misses the opener with a concussion. 

Williams needs little introduction having already made over 50 appearances for Wales and toured with the British and Irish Lions in 2017.

14. George North - Wales

Like Williams, North little introduction. The Ospreys flyer is closing in on Shane Williams' all-time Six Nations' try-scoring record, he needs just 6 tries to surpass Williams. 

Still only 26, North is more than likely to surpass that record, with his speed, size and ability under the high ball making him one of the most potent wingers in the competition. 

13. Jonathan Davies - Wales 

Regarded as one of the finest outside centres in the game, Davies is a shoo-in for the side. He did have tough competition from Wesley Fofana but the Welshman edges the fleet-footed Frenchman. 

Davies returned to test from a lengthy injury layoff last year but hardly looked a step off the pace and will be crucial to Wales' success in 2019.

12. Hadleigh Parkes - Wales

The 31-year-old New Zealand born centre has quickly made himself a regular test starter since making his debut against South Africa in 2017. He faces an extremely talented Romain Ntamack, who will be making his test debut on Friday night.

11. Yoann Huget - France

A veteran in the French backline, Huget has been in sublime form for Toulouse this season and will be looking to bring that form into the first test match of 2019. Huget beats of the promising talent of Josh Adams who is just starting out his test career and enters his second Six Nation. 

10. Gareth Anscombe - Wales

Arguably the closest call in between the two sides. Both Anscombe and Lopez have enjoyed stellar form at club level but Anscombe's form during the November Internationals gives him the edge.

Both players are all-round talented flyhalves and could easily win the game for their side. 

9. Morgan Parra - France

In a country blessed with talented scrumhalves, Morgan Parra claims the starting role for France this weekend and beats Tomos Williams to a place in our combined XV.

Parra's test career has been riddled with injuries but he will look to put that all behind him starting with this year's Six Nations.

Williams' fantastic form with Cardiff Blues has seen him displace British and Irish Lion Gareth Davies for the opener and is definitely one to watch in 2019. 

8. Louis Picamoles - France

The powerhouse French no.8 beats Ross Moriarty to a place in our combined XV with the 33-year-old hinting that this could be his final Six Nations.

Picamoles has been in superb form for Montpellier, despite the club's struggles, scoring 5 tries in the Top 14. The hard hitting Ross Moriarty was not too far off of the Frenchman. 

7. Justin Tipuric - Wales

One of the most inform openside flankers in the world right now, Justin Tipuric has seamlessly taken over Sam Warburton's jersey in the test set up. 

He has put in numerous sublime performances including breakdown masterclass in Wales' historic victory over Australia in November.

6. Josh Navidi - Wales

Another close call between Wales' Navidi and France's Wenceslas Lauret. Both players are extremely hard workers both on defence and at the breakdown.

Navidi just gets the nod over Lauret thanks to his form with Cardiff Blues.


5. Alun Wyn Jones - Wales

The evergreen Welsh captain beats Sebastien Vahaamahina to a place in the second row. At the age of 33, Jones shows no sign of slowing down. 

Jones still weighs in with a massive tackle and carry count every time he pulls on the red jersey and is a key player for Wales. 

4. Paul Willemse - France

The South African-born lock will make his test debut against Wales. Willemse is a lineout specialist and like many South African locks he thrives in the physical nature of the game. 

Willemse has been a mainstay in the Montpellier line up this season and has crossed the whitewash five times in all competitions.

3. Uini Atonio - France

One of the biggest players on the planet the 151kg tighthead prop is a brilliant scrummager and is the kind of specimen any coach would want in his starting line up. 

He beats Exeter Chief tighthead Tomas Francis for a place in our combined XV. 

2. Guilhem Guirado - France

Another incredibly tight call with both Guirado and Owens fitting the bill as a world-class hooker. Owens has shown his versatility featuring in the back row for Scarlets.

Guirado was a standout performer last year for an inconsistent France. The tough-tackling hooker wears his heart on his sleeve and is comfortably one of the best in his position. 

1. Jefferson Poirot - France

Poirot completes an all-French front row. Poirot gets the nod over Rob Evans with his scrummaging giving him the edge. Both players are hard workers around the pitch but the Bordeaux loosehead's scrummaging earns him a place in the side. 

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