France head coach Philippe Saint-Andre has made two personnel changes and one positional switch to the team to play Ireland in Sunday’s Rugby World Cup Pool D decider in Cardiff (kick-off 4.45pm).
Number 8 Louis Picamoles and winger Noa Nakaitaci, who both started France’s first two pool matches, return to the starting line-up in place of Bernard le Roux and Remy Grosso respectively. Damien Chouly switches to openside flanker.
Toulouse powerhouse Picamoles will win his 50th cap, becoming the 53rd France player to reach the half-century milestone.
Thierry Dusautoir will captain les Bleus for the 55th time, joining Australian legend John Eales in seventh place on the all-time list.
Ten of France’s selected team also started the Six Nations match against Ireland in February which they lost 18-11. Seven of the eight forwards – all except le Roux – return from that day and three of the backs (Wesley Fofana, Mathieu Bastareaud and full-back Scott Spedding).
Fofana and Bastareaud will play together in the centre for the 13th time for France. Only Damien Traille and Yannick Jauzion (15) have played more often at 12 and 13 for France in the professional era.
Philippe Saint-Andre commented: “The pressure is all on Ireland. They are Six Nations champions and we haven’t beaten them in the last four meetings. It is all on their shoulders.
“We know Ireland’s strengths. They have a good carrying game, but they also have an excellent kicking game and are strong in the air.
“It’s important to be disciplined. We will play with passion. Application, determination and concentration will determine the outcome of this match.”
FRANCE Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool D, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Sunday, October 11, kick-off 4.45pm):
15. Scott Spedding (Clermont Auvergne)
14. Noa Nakaitaci (Clermont Auvergne)
13. Mathieu Bastareaud (Toulon)
12. Wesley Fofana (Clermont Auvergne)
11. Brice Dulin (Racing 92)
10. Frederic Michalak (Toulon)
9. Sebastien Tillous-Borde (Toulon)
1. Eddy Ben Arous (Racing 92)
2. Guilhem Guirado (Toulon)
3. Rabah Slimani (Stade Francais)
4. Pascal Pape (Stade Francais)
5. Yoann Maestri (Toulouse)
6. Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse) (capt)
7. Damien Chouly (Clermont Auvergne)
8. Louis Picamoles (Toulouse)
16. Benjamin Kayser (Clermont Auvergne)
17. Vincent Debaty (Clermont Auvergne)
18. Nicolas Mas (Montpellier)
19. Alexandre Flanquart (Stade Francais)
20. Bernard le Roux (Racing 92)
21. Morgan Parra (Clermont Auvergne)
22. Remi Tales (Racing 92)
23. Alexandre Dumoulin (Racing 92)