France giant lock Posolo Tuilagi.

Giant France lock Posolo Tuilagi. Image: Six Nations website.

France pick 150kg teenage wrecking ball for Italy showdown

A giant 19-year-old lock will earn his first Test start for France in Sunday’s Six Nations clash against Italy in Lille.

France giant lock Posolo Tuilagi.

Giant France lock Posolo Tuilagi. Image: Six Nations website.

Teenage sensation Posolo Tuilagi was surprisingly selected in head coach Fanien Galthie’s starting XV for France’s home game against the Azzurri at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.

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Tuilagi, the son of former Samoa loose forward Henry, won his first two Test caps for France while playing off the bench in Les Bleus’ opening rounds of this year’s Six Nations tournament, with his debut coming in round one against Ireland.

The 19-year-old, who weighs 149.7kg, is one of two changes after the victory over Scotland in Murrayfield two weeks ago.

“He brought a lot of energy at the end of the game in Scotland,” Galthie’s assistant coach Laurent Sempere told reporters on Friday. “He also did so against Ireland.

“We decided to start him against Italy after his performances during training sessions with us and each time he’s come on the field.”

The other positional alteration from the win in Edinburgh is Paul Boudehent coming in at blindside flanker, with Francois Cros moving to No 8 as Gregory Alldritt is out injured. And flank Charles Ollivon takes over the captaincy in Alldritt’s absence.

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France – 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Louis Bielle-Biarrey, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Maxime Lucu, 8 Francois Cros, 7 Charles Ollivon (c), 6 Paul Boudehent, 5 Posolo Tuilagi, 4 Cameron Woki, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Peato Mauvaka, 1 Cyril Baille.
Subs: 16 Julien Marchand, 17 Sebastien Taofifenua, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Alexandre Roumat, 21 Esteban Abadie, 22 Nolann Le Garrec, 23 Yoram Moefana.

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France team graphic
The French team selected to take on Italy. Image: @FranceRugby via X.