Damian Penaud returns for Grand Slam decider against England

Damian Penaud returns for Grand Slam decider against England

Damian Penaud returns for France's final Six Nations match of 2022 against England on Saturday.

France head coach Fabien Galthie has been forced into making just one change to his starting XV for the Grand Slam deciding Six Nations clash against England with Damian Penaud returning in place of the injured Yoram Moefana.

Penaud missed the round three clash against Wales due to illness and returns on the wing in place of Moefana, who is ruled out of the clash through injury having started all of the opening four games.

The remainder of the starting lineup remains unchanged with Julien Marchand at hooker with Cyril Baille and Uini Atonio on either side of him.

Cameron Woki and Paul Willemse continue their partnership in the second row with Francois Cros, Anthony Jelonch and Gregory Alldritt completing the back.

Antoine Dupont captains the side with Romain Ntamack as his halfback partner. Jonathan Danty and Gael Fickou are retained in the centres.

Penaud starts on the right wing with Gabin Villiere on the left and Melvyn Jaminet at fullback.

There is just one change on the bench with Romain Taofifenua returning to the matchday 23 in place of winger Matthis Lebel. The return of Taofifenua sees the bench change to a 6-2 split in favour of the forwards. 

Peato Mauvaka, Jean Baptiste-Gros, and Mohamed Haouas provide front row cover with Taofifenua, Thibaud Flament, and Dylan Cretin covering the rest of the pack.

Maxime Lucu and Thomas Ramos provide cover in the backline. 


Just one of the last nine Guinness Six Nations fixtures between France and England has been won by the away side on the day, a 31-21 victory for England in Paris in 2016, Les Bleus have won their two home games against England since then.

Two of France’s three Guinness Six Nations Grand Slams have been completed with a win over England in the final round, in 2004 and 2010. In 2004 Les Bleus repelled a second half comeback to win 24-21 at the Stade de France with England going into the game knowing a victory by 8+ points would have secured the title for themselves; in 2010 France had the title sewn up before the match which they went on to win 12-10.

France have lost just one of their last eight home games in the Guinness Six Nations, losing at the death to Scotland in 2021 as they chased an unlikely winning margin which could have secured Fabien Galthié’s men the title.

England have lost twice in this year’s Guinness Six Nations and will be aiming to avoid losing three matches in an edition of the Championship for the third time under Eddie Jones (also 2018 and 2021) and for the fifth time overall (also 2005 and 2006).

France haven’t trailed at halftime in a home Test match since February 2018 (v Ireland), going into the break ahead on 19 occasions and level twice in their 21 matches since that fixture.

France have gained 4,167 metres from their kicks from hand in the Guinness Six Nations this year, more than any other team, while only Ireland have gained fewer than England (2,837); England have made the joint fewest kicks of any team though (101, level with Ireland and Scotland).

France have scored seven tries from counter attacks in the Guinness Six Nations this year, at least three more than any other team, with England scoring a joint-low one try in that fashion.

France’s Cyril Baille is one of just three players to have made a joint-high six successful offloads in the Guinness Six Nations this year (also Antoine Dupont and Monty Ioane), while being the only one of those three players to have completed 100% of his offloads; the three forwards who have assisted a try with an offload in the Championship this year all play for France (Baille, Julien Marchand and Gregory Alldritt).

England’s Maro Itoje has made five breakdown steals in the Guinness Six Nations in 2022, more than any other player; his teammate Alex Dombrandt is joint-second (4), level with Rory Darge and France’s Gregory Alldritt.

France’s Antoine Dupont (158) and England’s Marcus Smith (154) have made more metres over the gainline than any other half back in the Guinness Six Nations this year; Smith has scored a try in each of his two away games with England, both during this year’s Guinness Six Nations (v Scotland and Italy) while Dupont registered a try and an assist in his last home game for Les Bleus (v Ireland).


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