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Saint-Andre shakes up France team

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has made eight changes to his starting line-up for Sunday's RBS 6 Nations clash with Italy at the Stadio Olimpico.

Saint-Andre has rung the changes following his side's 20-13 defeat at home to Wales on February 28 as France look to record their second win in this year's tournament.

Five of the changes involve the backs as Sebastien Tillous-Borde comes in for scrum-half Morgan Parra, while Scott Spedding returns at full-back at Brice Dulin's expense.

Noa Nakaitaci is set to start in place of the injured Sofiane Guitoune (hamstring) on the wing and there is also a new centre partnership as Gael Fickou and Maxime Mermoz start.

Changes in the forwards line see Nicolas Mas, Alexandre Flanquart and Loann Goujon all named in the starting XV as Rabah Slimani, Romain Taofifenua and Damien Chouly drop to the bench.

France currently sit fourth in the table with their only victory coming after they saw off Scotland 15-8 in their opening match, then followed an 18-11 defeat to Ireland in Dublin.

Saint-Andre explained the reasoning behind his decisions for some of the changes.

He said of his choice to select Spedding in place of Dulin at full-back: "Scott has refreshed (the team) mentally and physically.

"He found energy. His kicking game can also be used to complement Camille Lopez. And today, we believe that Scott is ahead of Brice."

The France boss named Mathieu Bastareaud among his replacements for the match in Rome, and hopes the 31-cap centre can make a difference late on.

He added, according to L'Equipe: "We think Mathieu is a better impact player in the last 20 minutes."


From Belfast Telegraph