Oita - Backline tyros Damian Penaud and Antoine Dupont have shrugged off niggles to make the France team named by coach Jacques Brunel for the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Wales on Sunday.

Electric wing Penaud (lower stomach) and livewire scrumhalf Dupont (back) take their place in a starting XV that will be captained by hooker Guilhem Guirado.

"If he hadn't recovered, we wouldn't play him," Brunel said of Penaud.

"The same goes for Antoine Dupont. We've protected them a bit, looked after them and they are 100 percent fit today."

Guirado will make his first start in three matches having played second fiddle to Camille Chat in France's last two pool matches against the United States (33-9) and Tonga (23-21).

The final match of the pool, against England, was cancelled because of the deadly Typhoon Hagibis that swept into eastern Japan.

That cancellation meant that Brunel had not been able to pick the team that had opened their campaign with a 23-21 victory over Argentina.

For Wales, Brunel made one change from that team that beat Los Pumas, drafting in South African-born Bernard Le Roux in place of Arthur Iturria in the second row.

Le Roux missed France's three warm-up matches because of a ban, but showed up well against the United States.

"We know how active he is, we've seen that since the start of the tournament," Brunel said, putting ultra-consistent Wales in the top three teams in the world.

"We love that back-row/second-row player profile. He's very active around the park and loves contact."

Iturria, who also fits that profile but is not quite the physical wrecking ball that Le Roux can be on his day, misses out on the match-day 23, Brunel instead naming lock Paul Gabrillagues and number eight Louis Picamoles among the replacements.

Maxime Medard will start at fullback alongside wings Penaud and Yoann Huget, while Fiji-born Virimi Vakatawa and Gael Fickou are in midfield.

Dupont will partner Romain Ntamack at halfback, with Baptiste Serin and Camille Lopez on the bench.

Guirado packs down between props Rabah Slimani and Jefferson Poirot, while Le Roux is joined in the boiler house by Sebastien Vahaamahina.

Gregory Alldritt, Charles Ollivon and Wenceslas Lauret form a combative back-row that will have its work cut out against Six Nations champions Wales.

Chat, Cyril Baille and Emerick Setiano provide front-row cover, while Vincent Rattez, called up as a replacement for Thomas Ramos, is preferred to Sofiane Guitoune as the back-three option from the bench.

"I can't say where we'll end up," said Brunel.

"But inside, I really feel something very positive from these four months of adventure during which different generations of players have come together.

"We can but hope to capitalise on that feeling and use that energy... which can offer up something very, very interesting."

Should France find the consistency Wales currently have, "We think we have a chance", Brunel said.

Flank Ollivon added that France's World Cup pedigree, having played three finals and reached the semi-finals on six occasions, was not something on which the players dwelled.

"When you come into a competition, you don't really think back to what's already past," he said.

"But France has a fantastic history in the World Cup, we know that and obviously want to stay at that level of performance.

"Now we're in the quarter-finals, we want to stay as long as possible."

Kick-off is at 09:15 (SA time) on Sunday.



15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Josh Navidi, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones

Substitutes: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Owen Watkin


15 Maxime Medard, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Jefferson Poirot

Substitutes: 16 Cyril Baille, 17 Camille Chat, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Paul Gabrillagues, 20 Louis Picamoles, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Camille Lopez, 23 Vincent Rattez