Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Lievremont makes changes as France preapare for Scotland

France head coach Marc Lievremont has ordered his much-changed pack to front up against Scotland on Saturday after admitting they were taught a lesson in aggression in the defeat to Ireland last weekend.

Les Bleus' forwards were out-muscled and out-fought by their wily Irish counterparts in the 30-21 defeat at Croke Park on Saturday, and Lievremont revealed it had hit his team hard.

Three of the four changes made by Lievremont for the match against Scotland in Paris come in the pack, with Fabien Barcella, Nicolas Mas and Romain Millo-Chluski coming in for Lionel Faure, Benoit Lecouls and Sebastien Chabal.

And it is in that department that the France boss is demanding improvement.

"If there was a failing (against Ireland), it was a collective one," Lievremont said. "Even some exemplary players, like Dimitri Szarzewski and Thierry Dusautoir, lost more one-on-ones than normal. Our ball-carriers also had a bad time. We lacked intensity and durability overall.”

The other change for Saturday's Stade de France showdown sees Cedric Heymans come in for Julien Malzieu on the left wing, meaning that behind the half-backs, there is now an all-Toulouse back division.

But it is in the forwards where the focus will be on against the Scots.There were more questions asked last weekend about a second row which was made up of Lionel Nallet and Chabal in Dublin.

Skipper Nallet has been out of form for much of the season and his place in the team - and therefore his captaincy - has been questioned.

Chabal, meanwhile, was criticised for avoiding the dirty work at Croke Park. He made a couple of trademark bullocking charges down the left wing in the first half, but his presence was missing in the darker arts and France were often left short at the breakdown.

Millo-Chluski's inclusion in place of Chabal should take some of the burden off Nallet while the Sale Sharks icon can now perform what is maybe the role that suits him best - that of an impact substitute.

Lievremont added: "Sebastien Chabal has not been punished like certain people would think. We have simply decided to make a bit of a turnover.”

Centre Florian Fritz has been cited for allegedly eye-gauging an Ireland player, thought to be Stephen Ferris, at Croke Park on Saturday and will appear before a Six Nations disciplinary committee in London today.

He nevertheless makes the starting line-up and is one of five Toulouse players in the back-line.

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