Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Fofana set for Les Bleus debut

Philippe Saint-Andre

Centre Wesley Fofana will earn his first cap for France when they take on Italy in their RBS 6 Nations opener.

The 24-year-old will line up alongside Clermont Auvergne team-mate Aurelien Rougerie in midfield for coach Philippe Saint-Andre's first game in charge on Saturday at the Stade de France.

Francois Trinh-Duc takes over at fly-half from Morgan Parra who, after starting the World Cup final against New Zealand, drops to the bench.

Saint-Andre, who replaced Marc Lievremont at the helm shortly after Les Bleus lost to New Zealand in the World Cup final, expects Fofana to fit right in.

"He brings enthusiasm and freshness," he was quoted as saying on www.rugby365.fr. "We know his qualities, his speed. He's a quick player.

"You have to start one day. I don't want him to be under pressure. He must show his qualities and should enjoy himself, not be shy and show what he does for his club."

Another uncapped player, Yoann Maestri, will sit on the bench alongside Imanol Harinordoquy, who surprisingly does not make the starting XV despite impressing in the World Cup.

France team: M Medard (Toulouse); V Clerc (Toulouse), A Rougerie (Clermont Auvergne), W Fofana (Clermont Auvergne), J Malzieu (Clermont Auvergne); F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), D Yachvili (Biarritz); V Debaty (Clermont Auvergne), W Servat (Toulouse), N Mas (Perpignan), P Pape (Stade Francais), L Nallet (Racing Metro), T Dusautoir (capt, Toulouse), J Bonnaire (Clermont Auvergne), L Picamoles (Toulouse).

Replacements: D Szarzewski (Stade Francais), J-B Poux (Toulouse), Y Maestri (Toulouse), I Harinordoquy (Biarritz), M Parra (Clermont Auvergne), L Beauxis (Toulouse), M Mermoz (Perpignan).

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