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France coach Guy Noves puts faith in Francois Trinh-Duc

Published 11/03/2016

France head coach Guy Noves has made six changes to his team ahead of Sunday's clash with Scotland
France head coach Guy Noves has made six changes to his team ahead of Sunday's clash with Scotland

France coach Guy Noves hopes Francois Trinh-Duc can drive his juggernaut side to victory against Scotland after handing the fly-half the "keys to the lorry".

Noves's side have been criticised for their lack of flair and over-reliance on their brute physicality during this year's RBS 6 Nations but Les Bleus' new boss has thrown caution to the wind ahead of Sunday's Murrayfield clash.

Among the six changes he has made to his line-up are Trinh-Duc's inclusion at 10 in place of Jules Plisson.

The Montpellier playmaker was omitted by Noves' predecessor Philippe Saint-Andre when he picked his squad for last year's World Cup while injury kept him out of the first two Championship fixtures, finally getting his shot off the bench against Wales a fortnight ago.

Nonetheless, he is regarded as a more expansive, exciting option than Plisson and now gets to start in Edinburgh.

Noves said: "With Jules, Francois has the keys to the lorry at the moment.

"He was in our original squad and wasn't quite fully fit but he has played a few games for his club and a bit for us against Wales, so we felt it would be interesting to see him start this match."

Also returning to Noves' group is Scott Spedding at full-back as he takes over from Maxime Medard.

Centre Wesley Fofana will be used as a make-shift wing as Djibril Camara makes way, while Gael Fickou replaces Jonathan Danty in the midfield.

Yoann Maestri starts at lock, with Paul Jedrasiak dropping out and the giant Sebastien Vahaamahina joining the replacements.

The final change sees Yacouba Camara replace the injured Antoine Burban at open-side flanker.

It is not the first time Noves has tinkered with his team during the tournament as he tries to rediscover a winning formula that will take France through to the 2019 World Cup.

"We are still in the early stages of our development," he noted. "We have set out on a path, and we will go down it with a strong group of 35 or 40 guys."

France have gone 10 years since last losing to Scotland but Noves is wary of this current Dark Blues line-up.

"They are taking on a certain dimension and that is down to Vern Cotter," he added. "He gives them confidence despite some of the results. You can see a team which is evolving and progressing, so that again could be an example for our own rugby."

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