Remy Grosso’s rapid rise from anonymity moved up a notch when he was named in the France side to play Canada in their Rugby World Cup Pool D game.
The 26-year-old Castres wing, whose squad call-up to replace the injured Yoann Huget surprised even Grosso, wins his first cap against a Canada side who showed some sparkle in their 23-18 defeat by Italy on Saturday.
Grosso has only previously donned a blue jersey for the sevens side in the European qualifiers for next year’s Olympics in June.
“For him, it is an exceptional adventure,” said coach Philippe Saint-Andre after announcing the team seeking a third successive win.
“A few weeks ago he would not even have been thinking of the World Cup.
“Now he is in the first team. Now it is for him to prepare for the game without putting pressure on himself and he plays his normal game out there.”
Saint-Andre, who is building towards the decisive pool match against Six Nations champions Ireland, also gave fullback Brice Dulin another go on the wing after a disappointing performance in the unfamiliar position against England before the tournament.
Dulin has found it impossible to dislodge South African-born Scott Spedding from the fullback spot. And with Fijian-born wing Noa Nakatici rested after playing in the wins over Italy and Romania, the Racing92 player gets another chance.
“He has started to adjust to the differences between the two positions since we started working with him on those,” said Saint-Andre.
Saint-Andre has also recalled several of his first choice players for the rugged challenge that Canada will provide.
Thierry Dusautoir returns to captain the side with the halfback partnership of Toulon duo, scrum-half Sebastian Tillous-Borde and kicker Frederic Michalak also back in the frontline.