Jelonch back as France ring the changes to face Uruguay

Scott Barbour/AAP PHOTOS

France head coach Fabien Galthie has made 12 changes to the team that beat New Zealand in the World Cup curtain raiser with Anthony Jelonch making a long-awaited comeback to face Uruguay in Lille on Thursday.

Les Bleus, who are expected to finish top of Pool A after prevailing 27-13 against the All Blacks last Friday, welcome the return of No.8 Jelonch for his first cap since he sustained a serious knee injury in February in the Six Nations.

In a total revamp of the third row, Jelonch will start alongside Paul Boudehent and Sekou Macalou while Maxime Lucu takes over from Antoine Dupont at halfback and Antoine Hastoy replaces Matthieu Jalibert at five-eighth.

Melvyn Jaminet, who scored France's last try against three-time champions New Zealand, starts at fullback and electric young winger Louis Bielle-Biarrey has an opportunity to shine on the right wing.

From the team who started at the Stade de France, only lock Cameron Woki, centre Yoram Moefana and winger Gabin Villiere will be on the Pierre Mauroy stadium field at kick-off.

"We're trying to have everyone involved," assistant coach William Servat said.

"So when the big matches arrive, all our players will be at their peak."

Uruguay halfback has Santiago Arata recovered from a broken hand to start.

Coach Esteban Meneses has bet on experience, with 11 survivors from the 2019 World Cup. They don't include replacement loosehead Matias Benitez, who made his test debut in 2010 but could make his World Cup debut at 35 on Thursday.

The team include Felipe Etcheverry, a rugby sevens stalwart capable of a clean break when in space as much as he controls the game with kicks out of hand. Andres Vilaseca of French club Vannes captains.


Melvyn Jaminet, Louis Bielle-Biarrey, Arthur Vincent, Yoram Moefana, Gabin Villiere, Antoine Hastoy, Maxime Lucu, Anthony Jelonch (capt), Sekou Macalou, Paul Boudehent, Romain Taofifenua, Cameron Woki, Dorian Aldegheri, Pierre Bourgarit, Jean-Baptiste Gros


Peato Mauvaka, Reda Wardi, Sipili Falatea, Bastien Chalureau, Thibaud Flament, François Cros, Baptiste Couilloud, Thomas Ramos.


Baltazar Amaya, Bautista Basso, Tomas Inciarte, Andres Vilaseca (capt), Nicolas Freitas, Felipe Etcheverry, Santiago Arata; Manuel Diana, Santiago Civetta, Manuel Ardao, Manuel Leindekar, Felipe Aliaga, Ignacio Peculo, Guillermo Pujadas, Mateo Sanguinetti.

Replacements: Facundo Gattas, Matias Benitez, Reinaldo Piussi, Ignacio Dotti, Lucas Bianchi, Carlos Deus, Agustin Ormaechea, Felipe Berchesi.

- with AP