France coach Galthie wants enlarged squad for Australia tour

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France's head coach Fabien Galthie (L) leads a training session during the Six Nations alongside scrum-half Antoine Dupont

France coach Fabien Galthie wants "two complete teams" for the tour to Australia in July in order to combat the twin problems of Covid quarantine and a crammed fixture list, he said in an interview with Sud-Ouest on Tuesday.

France face three Tests in 10 days against the Wallabies, on July 7, 13 and 17.

That punishing schedule is complicated by Australia's 14-day quarantine rule which means those who play in the Top 14 final on June 25 will not be able to play the first Test.

An agreement between the French Rugby Federation (FFR) and the National Rugby League (LNR) allows for 35 players in the tour party but Galthie said that "constructive" discussions were taking place to expand that number to 46.

"We will have to have two complete teams," said Galthie.

"One that plays the first Test match, another the second. For the third Test, we would have the first team, reinforced by those who had limited playing time in the second.

"This is why our preselection is extended to a minimum of six players per position and nine players in very specific positions such as the front row or the halfbacks where there is not much versatility.

"With three Tests to play in 10 days, we must ensure that we have sufficient numbers to cover these specific positions.

"If we have injuries, we will not be able to call on players who will be in France, in view of health constraints."


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