France head coach Philippe Saint-André has made some significant changes to his team for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations showdown with Ireland in Paris (kick-off 6pm local time/5pm Irish time).
There are four personnel changes split between the backs and forwards with the 19-year-old Gaël Fickou coming in for his first Six Nations start – and only his second at Test level.
Fickou will partner Mathieu Bastareaud in the centre with Remi Talès also set for his first Six Nations start, replacing Jules Plisson in the number 10 jersey. Neither Fickou or Talès have faced Ireland before.
Louis Picamoles returns at blindside flanker after being dropped for the win away to Scotland, while Dimitri Szarzewski will hope to improve the French lineout as he takes the hooker berth at the expense of Brice Mach.
Picamoles combines in the starting back row with Clermont Auvergne duo Alexandre Lapandry and Damien Chouly, who have yet to play a Test match against Ireland. Sebastien Vahaamahina is the player to make way.
FRANCE Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2014 RBS 6 Nations Championship, Stade de France, Saturday, March 15, kick-off 6pm local time/5pm Irish time):
15. Brice Dulin (Castres Olympique) 14
14. Yoann Huget (Stade Toulousain) 26
13. Mathieu Bastareaud (RC Toulon) 22
12. Gaël Fickou (Stade Toulousain) 7
11. Maxime Medard (Stade Toulousain) 38
10. Remi Talès (Castres Olympique) 7
9. Maxime Machenaud (Racing Metro 92) 15
1. Thomas Domingo (Clermont Auvergne) 32
2. Dimitri Szarzewski (Racing Metro 92) 78
3. Nicolas Mas (Montpellier) 70
4. Pascal Papé (Stade Francais) (capt) 53
5. Yoann Maestri (Stade Toulousain) 24
6. Louis Picamoles (Stade Toulousain) 41
7. Alexandre Lapandry (Clermont Auvergne) 9
8. Damien Chouly (Clermont Auvergne) 17
16. Guilhem Guirado (USA Perpignan) 19
17. Vincent Debaty (Clermont Auvergne) 22
18. Rabah Slimani (Stade Francais) 6
19. Alexandre Flanquart (Stade Francais) 4
20. Sebastien Vahaamahina (USA Perpignan) 12
21. Wenceslas Lauret (Racing Metro 92) 6
22. Jean-Marc Doussain (Stade Toulousain) 9
23. Maxime Mermoz (RC Toulon) 26