Rugby World Cup France vs Uruguay Preview: Les Bleus Eye Big Win to Kick Off Round Two - Ruck

Rugby World Cup France vs Uruguay Preview: Les Bleus Eye Big Win to Kick Off Round Two

France start off the second round of action in the 2023 Rugby World Cup, as they take on Uruguay in Pool A this evening. Les Bleus look to build on their opening round victory over the All Blacks, with Uruguay eager to start their tournament after sitting out the first weekend of matches.

On paper, this looks like it will be a comfortable victory for Fabien Galthie’s men. However, Uruguay possess the element of the unexpected, in what will be the first ever official test match meeting between the two sides. Uruguay have also previously secured upset victories at the Rugby World Cup, with their 30-27 win over Fiji being their highlight of the 2019 tournament.

The France Head Coach has selected a rotational side, with key players left out of the squad, such as Antoine Dupont, Matthieu Jalibert, Gregory Alldritt and Charles Ollivon. In the absence of Dupont, number eight Anthony Jelonch returns from a prolonged ACL injury, and will lead out Les Bleus as captain.

Despite speculation on his possible selection, France’s powerhouse centre Jonathan Danty is left out of the squad. Danty missed the opening weekend’s win over New Zealand with a slight hamstring injury, with Yoram Moefana again selected to start in the centres.

Speaking in the pre-match media, Head Coach Galthie discussed his selections and expects a fight from the Uruguayans.

“We had to switch from a match we had focused on for three years to this one against Uruguay in a short space of time. We’ve put together a team that we feel is ready in terms of freshness, preparation and combinations. The challenge for us is to put together the best team in France right now.”

“It’s a question of choices, decisions, and analysis. We thought Yoram Moefana was ready to play centre for a second match. [Jonathan] Danty was a possible choice but we have a vision in terms of associations and playing time. In view of how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go, the decision to play Yoram seems more coherent for Uruguay.”

(On captain Anthony Jelonch’s recovery from an ACL injury in the Six Nations.)

“We remember that night against Scotland. We’d won, but it was tough for the group because we knew Anthony was injured. He represents the group perfectly. We’ve sometimes been hit hard, we’ve lived through difficult times in terms of the game, adversity and the environment. But the group always stood together and the players have been strong, and that’s where our strength lies: in determination, confidence and solidarity.”

“They’ve (Uruguay) qualified for this World Cup again, four years after Japan. At the 2019 World Cup, they beat Fiji, trailed Wales by a point at half-time and lost to Australia by a very respectable score. They’re a team of fighting spirit and a big heart. Uruguay is a country apart, with fundamental values in terms of fighting spirit and pride. We expect to come up against a team with a lot of energy and aggression.


15. Melvyn Jaminet

14. Louis Bielle-Biarrey

13. Arthur Vincent

12. Yoram Moefana

11. Gabin Villiere

10. Antoine Hastoy

9. Maxime Lucu

1. Jean Baptiste-Gros

2. Pierre Bourgarit

3. Dorian Aldegheri

4. Cameron Woki

5. Romain Taofifenua

6. Paul Boudehent

7. Sekou Macalou

8. Anthony Jelonch (C)

16. Peato Mauvaka

17. Reda Wardi

18. Sipili Falatea

19. Bastien Chalureau

20. Thibaud Flament

21. Francois Cros

22. Baptiste Couilloud

23. Thomas Ramos


Uruguay Forwards Coach Pablo Bouza gave his thoughts on France’s victory over New Zealand, and expects a tough challenge when taking on Les Blues in Lille.

“It was a great match. In the first half, New Zealand were better but could not reflect their domination on the scoreboard, and in the second half the French grew thanks to their great defence and territorial play.

“France played almost the entire second half in New Zealand territory and that meant little by little, and the yellow card the All Blacks received, France got the result.”

“Uruguay will have a very, very difficult but very nice match. We have six days until our first game in the Rugby World Cup; we already know how France play.” A key returnee to the Uruguay squad is Santiago Arata, who comes back in at scrum half after being side-lined with a hand injury.


15. Baltazar Amaya

14. Bautista Basso

13. Tomas Inciarte

12. Andres Vilaseca (C)

11. Nicolas Freitas

10. Felipe Etcheverry

9. Santiago Arata

1. Mateo Sanguinetti

2. Guillermo Pujadas

3. Ignacio Peculo

4. Felipe Aliaga

5. Manuel Leindekar

6. Manuel Ardao

7. Santiago Civetta

8. Manuel Diana

16. Facundo Gattas

17. Matias Benitez

18. Reinaldo Piussi

19. Ignacio Dotti

20. Lucas Bianchi

21. Carlos Deus

22. Augustin Ormaechea

23. Felipe Berchesi