France have long been the enigma of International rugby, they are capable of the sublime but also of the laughable.
They have some extremely talented players but with their Top 14 league becoming more and more saturated with southern hemisphere imports drawn to the big pay check it seems that the national team is finding it harder to put together a team capable of winning any trophies.
vs. Wales (Stade de France), Fri 1st February, 20:00
vs. England (Twickenham Stadium), Sun 10th February, 15:00
vs. Scotland (Stade de France), Sat 23rd February, 14:15
vs. Ireland (Aviva Stadium), Sun 10th March, 15:00
vs. Italy (Stadio Olimpico), Sat 16th March, 12:30
France will be targeting their home games against Scotland and Wales as potential wins, although I suspect Wales will be too strong. Trips to Dublin and London will be very difficult.
It could be showdown to avoid the Wooden Spoon on Super Saturday when France face Italy.
France had a mixed autumn off the back of a 3-0 loss in New Zealand. They lost by just three points to South Africa before a comprehensive win over Argentina they then finished by being embarrassed by the Flying Fijians who stormed the Stade de France to win 21-14 despite trailing 14-12 at half-time.
There are some big names missing for France, X Factor winger Teddy Thomas is out injured along with his Clermont Augvergne counterpart Alivereti Raka who qualifies for France on residency and with the form he’s in would have been a shoo-in for Jacques Brunel’s latest squad.
Towering lock Yoann Maestri, prop Cedric Gomes Sa and Castres back Mathieu Babilot also miss out due to injury.
Toulouse trio Thomas Ramos, Romain Ntamack and Dorian Aldegheri all come in, La Rochelle flanker Gregory Aldritt is another new face along with South African born Paul Willemse who qualifies on residency.
63 cap Guilhem Guirado captains from hooker, number eight Louis Picamoles is another notable addition along with electric centre Wesley Fofana and counter attacking genius Maxime Medard.
1 Jefferson POIROT 2 Guihelm GUIRADO (Captain) 3 Demba BAMBA 4 Arthur ITURRIA 5 Sebstien VAHAAMAHINA 6 Wencelas LAURET 7 Yacouba CAMARA 8 Louis PICAMOLES
9 Baptiste SERIN 10 Anthony BELLEAU 11 Gael FICKOU 12 Wesley FOFANA 13 Mathieu BASTAREUAD 14 Yoann HUGET 15 Maxime MEDARD
16 Julien MARCHAND 17 Danny PRISO 18 Uini ATONIO 19 Paul WILLEMSE 20 Bernard LE ROUX 21 Morgan PARRA 22 Romain NTAMACK 23 Thomas RAMOS