France take on Romania this evening in what they will feel should be a facile win. Phillipe Saint-Andre has made a massive thirteen changes to the side that took on Italy in the tournament opener, with Louis Picamoles in the backrow and Noa Nakaitaci the only survivors from that side. The big news is that Wesley Fofana has made a successful return from injury and starts in a dangerous looking backline which includes Gael Fickou and Brice Dulin. Remi Tales and Morgan Parra make up a new look half back pairing, and both players will feel they can still play their way into the starting line up with a good performance tonight.
Romania play their first match of this year’s competition, their 8th in World Cups over all, and name their possible strongest side. A number of players in their side have tier one experience, with the likes of Mihaita Lazar, Paulica Ion and Valentin Ursache all regularly running out in the Top 14. They will be physical and combative, and in the opening stanzas especially will cause problems.
France and Romania have a storied history, this being their 50th meeting at test level. In world cups, the teams have met twice, with France winning handsomely on both occasions.
One To Watch:
The returning Wesley Fofana will feel he has a point to prove, and will look to get out of the blocks quickly. Followers of European rugby will know all about the Clermont centre, who has bags of pace and good footwork to boot. Expect to see him attack the line at every opportunity
France should have too much pace and power for the Romanians, but don’t expect them to just roll over. After a physical opening 20 France should begin to pull away and win well.