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Noves Makes Six Changes To France Team

Noves Makes Six Changes To France Team

France head coach Guy Noves has made six changes to his team for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations match against Ireland at the Stade de France (kick-off 3.25pm local time/2.25pm Irish time).

With Louis Picamoles sidelined with a hamstring injury and Gaël Fickou missing out due to personal reasons, Yacouba Camara comes into the back row and Maxime Mermoz gets the nod at outside centre.

It will be Toulouse youngster’s Camara first Test start and second successive cap at just 21. His inclusion at openside flanker sees Damien Chouly move to the number 8 position.

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Hugo Bonneval drops to the bench to make way for Teddy Thomas on the right wing, while both props have been swapped as Jefferson Poirot and Uini Atonio are preferred to Eddy Ben Arous and Rabah Slimani respectively. It will be the 23-year-old Poirot’s first start, and a second for tighthead Atonio.

The sixth and final change sees Stade Francais clubman Alexandre Flanquart start ahead of Paul Jedrasiak in the second row. He was used as a replacement in France’s 2014 Six Nations and 2015 Rugby World Cup defeats to Ireland.

France’s starting back-line includes three players making their second starts at international level – strong-running centre Jonathan Danty, Sevens specialist Virimi Vakatawa, who ran in a try from the left wing during last weekend’s 23-21 victory over Italy in Paris, and scrum half Sébastien Bézy.

Notably, hooker and captain Guilhem Guirado, lock Yoann Maestri and Chouly are the only survivors from the French team that started that World Cup pool clash in Cardiff last October. Les Bleus are aiming for their first win over Ireland since 2011.

Noves said of the personnal changes: “In modern rugby, there is no starter or replacements. It’s more of a relay. It’s not a sanction. Of course the players are evaluated but we also want to see the players in the squad play.”

FRANCE Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2016 RBS 6 Nations Championship, Stade de France, Saturday, February 13, kick-off 3.25pm local time/2.25pm Irish time):

15. Maxime Médard (Toulouse)
14. Teddy Thomas (Racing 92)
13. Maxime Mermoz (Toulon)
12. Jonathan Danty (Stade Français)
11. Virimi Vakatawa (FFR)
10. Jules Plisson (Stade Français)
9. Sébastien Bézy (Toulouse)
1. Jefferson Poirot (Bordeaux-Bègles)
2. Guilhem Guirado (Toulon) (capt)
3. Uini Atonio (La Rochelle)
4. Alexandre Flanquart (Stade Français)
5. Yoann Maestri (Toulouse)
6. Wenceslas Lauret (Racing 92)
7. Yacouba Camara (Toulouse)
8. Damien Chouly (Clermont Auvergne)


16. Camille Chat (Racing 92)
17. Rabah Slimani (Stade Français)
18. Eddy Ben Arous (Racing 92)
19. Paul Jedrasiak (Clermont Auvergne)
20. Loann Goujon (Bordeaux-Bègles)
21. Maxime Machenaud (Racing 92)
22. Jean-Marc Doussain (Toulouse)
23. Hugo Bonneval (Stade Français)