"Vunipola Brothers Confirmed" - France to take on World XV Ahead of Summer Tour to Argentina - Ruck

“Vunipola Brothers Confirmed” – France to take on World XV Ahead of Summer Tour to Argentina

Ahead of France’s upcoming Summer Tour to Argentina, Les Blues are booked in for a battle with a World XV team to kick-start their campaign. Fabien Galthie’s men will take on the invitational side, with the match set to take place San Mames Stadium in Bilbao, Spain, on June 22nd.

The World XV have already confirmed six top quality talents, including former England internationals Billy and Mako Vunipola. The Saracen stalwarts are set to run out for the iconic invitational side, and join the likes of flying Fijian Semi Radradra and former France scrum half Maxime Machenaud.

 “We are in the process of putting together an impressive squad of players and Maxime Machenaud (Bayonne & France), Camille Lopez (Bayonne & France), Mako Vunipola (Saracens & England), Semi Radradra (Lyon & Fiji), Billy Vunipola (Saracens & England), Tevita Tatafu (Bayonne) are already confirmed to play for the World XV.” World XV assistant coach Patrice Collazo said.

The World XV team will be led by the former All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster, who led his New Zealand team to runners-up in Rugby World Cup 2023. He will be assisted by Collazo, who is currently the Head Coach of Montpellier and previously took up coaching roles at La Rochelle, Toulon and Brive.

 “It’s an incredible honour to be asked to coach the World XV and a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Foster.

 “To coach an invitational side made up of top-class international players from around the globe is something truly unique. And playing the French team in the Basque region of Bilbao, we will certainly want to put on a show of attacking rugby, full of tries so the French, Spanish and Basque fans come away being fully entertained.”

 “I am also looking forward to joining up with the former French prop Patrice Collazo – he brings a wealth of experience to the coaching set up with stints at a number of the Top 14 clubs, La Rochelle, Toulon, Brive and currently at Montpellier.”

The French national team, third in the World Rugby world rankings and runners-up in this year’s Six Nations, will have some of the best players in the Top 14 among the international squad, and will depart from Bilbao for their southern hemisphere tour to face the Argentine Pumas.

Jean-Marc Lhermet, Vice-President of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) said : “We are pleased to be able to announce today this very high-level international match in Bilbao. Our French team is a magnificent tool for exporting rugby to countries where our sport continues to grow. It is a pride and a privilege to participate in its development. We can’t wait to see this magical stadium filled with the massive atmosphere that Basque supporters know how to create”.

Bristol Bears player Semi Radradra during the Gallagher Premiership rugby game between Leicester Tigers and Bristol Bears at Welford Road on June 5th – PHOTO: Steve Bond/PPAUK

Spanish Rugby Union (FER) President Juan Carlos Martín ‘Hansen’ added: “The selection of Spain as the venue to host a match of the highest international level proves the attractiveness of our country. We are delighted to host this historic match and happy to see San Mamés and Bilbao coming together to host rugby events of this magnitude, which undoubtedly enhances the growth of rugby in our country.”

This will be the second rugby match to be held at San Mamés following the European Rugby Champions Cup Final in 2018, which is due to return in 2026.

Juan Mari Aburto, Mayor of Bilbao, said: “Holding this sporting event in Bilbao gives us the chance to revive the great passion with which we hosted the 2018 European finals, staged for the first time outside of a Six Nations country. An historic occasion and a challenge that we celebrated then at San Mamés and that we will now enjoy again in preparation for the 2026 finals.

Tickets are on sale through www.thematchrugby.com with prices for adults from €35 and children 14 and under from €17.50. Discounts will apply for Groups of more than 10 people.

Top 20 players in the world:

#20. Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland)

A powerhouse winger, van der Merwe’s size and speed make him a lethal attacking threat. His ability to break tackles and finish tries, combined with his strong defensive efforts, adds a dynamic edge to Scotland’s backline.

#19. Finn Russell (Scotland)

A creative playmaker at fly-half, Russell’s flair and innovative decision-making set him apart. His precise passing and daring attacking kicks often unlock opportunities for Scotland. His presence ensures an unpredictable and exciting dimension to the team’s game.

#18. Jordie Barrett (New Zealand)

A versatile back, Barrett’s impressive boot, aerial skills, and positional awareness offer versatility to the All Blacks. His ability to play fullback, wing, or center, coupled with his goal-kicking prowess, makes him a valuable asset to the New Zealand squad.

#17. Josh van der Flier (Ireland)

A tenacious openside flanker, van der Flier’s work rate and breakdown prowess are his standout traits. His relentless tackling and ability to secure turnovers make him a vital component of Ireland’s defensive efforts and breakdown strategies.

#16. Aaron Smith (New Zealand)