Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Three changes for Les Bleus

Centre Florian Fritz will start the game against Ireland
Centre Florian Fritz will start the game against Ireland

France boss Philippe Saint-Andre has shaken up his back division with three changes for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash with Ireland in Dublin.

After defeats to Italy, Wales and England, France are bidding to regain some pride over their remaining matches against the Irish and Scotland.

To that end Saint-Andre has decided his pack needs no alteration from the loss at Twickenham last time out but the backs require an overhaul, and in come centre Florian Fritz, wing Maxime Medard and fly-half Frederic Michalak. Benjamin Fall, Mathieu Bastareaud and Francois Trinh-Duc drop out, with the latter two featuring among the replacements.

Michalak and Morgan Parra will become the third half-back partnership France have deployed in this year's championship.

Saint-Andre told L'Equipe: "They (Michalak/Parra) have already played together against Samoa in November.

"For the Ireland match, we wanted to have two goal-kickers. Fred will be the number one kicker, Morgan will take the kicks from further away because he has five metres more in his legs.

"But we are still in a construction phase and it isn't extraordinary for us to look to test the half-back axis."

France team: Y Huget (Toulouse); V Clerc (Toulouse), F Fritz (Toulouse), W Fofana (Clermont), M Medard (Toulouse); F Michalak (Toulon), M Parra (Clermont); L Picamoles (Toulouse), T Dusautoir (captain) (Toulouse), Y Nyanga (Toulouse), Y Maestri (Toulouse), C Samson (Castres), N Mas (Perpignan), B Kayser (Clermont), T Domingo (Clermont).

Replacements: G Guirado (Perpignan), V Debaty (Clermont), L Ducalcon (Racing), S Vahaamahina (Perpignan), A Claassen (Castres), M Machenaud (Racing), F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), M Bastareaud (Toulon).

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