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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

France Make Four Changes For Pool Showdown

France Make Four Changes For Pool Showdown

Coach Bernard Laporte has made four changes – all in the forwards – to the France team for Friday’s crucial World Cup Pool D match against Ireland (Stade de France, kick-off 9pm local time).

Surprisingly, Yannick Jauzion, arguably one of the best centres in the world, has been kept on the bench by Laporte for the must-win clash as David Marty and Damien Traille continue their midfield partnership.

One of the main changes up front sees hooker and captain Raphael Ibanez return having recovered from a throat injury. He replaces Dimitri Szarzewski who is listed amongst the replacements, along with Jean-Baptiste Poux, Lionel Nallet and Yannick Nyanga who were starters in les Bleus’ 87-10 victory over Namibia last Sunday.

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For the sides’ first meeting since their famous Croke Park game last February, Poux is replaced by Oliver Milloud as France’s loosehead prop, Jerome Thion has been brought in to partner cult figure Sebastien Chabal in the second row and Serge Betsen takes youngster Nyanga’s place in the back row.

Explaining his decision to leave Jauzion in reserve, Bernard Laporte said: “Yannick is not at his best physically and the combination of Damien Traille and David Marty worked well against Namibia because Marty is a real outside centre whereas Traille and Jauzion both play inside.”

Former skipper Fabien Pelous (knee) and number eight Imanol Harinordoquy (thumb) have not made the matchday 22, while veteran winger Christophe Dominici is also a notable absentee.

The unchanged back-line sees long-time Toulouse team-mates Frederic Michalak and Jean-Baptiste Elissalde holding onto the half-back spots, while France will line out with an all-Toulouse back three on Friday in the form of Clement Poitrenaud, Vincent Clerc, whose late try denied Ireland at Croke Park, and Cedric Heymans.

French team manager Jo Maso admitted: “With Clement Poitrenaud at full-back, it will be interesting to field a back three made of players coming from the same Toulouse club. They are used to playing together and it’s important, particularly to counter a strong Irish back-line.”

FRANCE TEAM & REPLACEMENTS (v Ireland, Stade de France, Friday, September 21, kick-off 9pm local time):

15 – Clement Poitrenaud
14 – Vincent Clerc
13 – David Marty
12 – Damien Traille
11 – Cedric Heymans
10 – Frederic Michalak
9 – Jean-Baptiste Elissalde
1 – Olivier Milloud
2 – Raphael Ibanez (capt)
3 – Pieter de Villiers
4 – Sebastien Chabal
5 – Jerome Thion
6 – Serge Betsen
7 – Thierry Dusautoir
8 – Julien Bonnaire


16 – Dimitri Szarzewski
17 – Jean-Baptiste Poux
18 – Lionel Nallet
19 – Yannick Nyanga
20 – Lionel Beauxis
21 – Yannick Jauzion
22 – Aurelien Rougerie