Medard back for French
Paris - Maxime Medard was recalled to the French squad for the Six Nations clash with wooden spoon favourites Italy on Tuesday after recovering from the hamstring injury that ruled him out of last weekend's loss to England.
The 24-year-old Toulouse star and France's leading tryscorer in the tournament this season with two was sorely missed in the 17-9 defeat at Twickenham which saw French hopes of repeating their Grand Slam success evaporate, though, they still entertain hopes of retaining the Six Nations title.
The return of Medard - capped 17 times - means Brive wing Alexis Palisson has been dropped from the squad.
Fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc had also been an injury worry after having left the field during the match with a sore knee but the 24-year-old too has been passed fit after undergoing x-rays.
France coach Marc Lievremont, though, will have sleepless nights this weekend as the players are free to play for their clubs in the Top 14 championship.
He will announce the starting XV next Tuesday in a match that France will expect to win and keep the pressure on unbeaten England - who entertain winless Scotland at home - for the title.
There is still a four-way battle for the crown as Ireland travel to Wales with both sides having won two of their three matches.
Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Thomas Domingo (Clermont), Luc Ducalcon (Castres), Sylvain Marconnet (Biarritz), William Servat (Toulouse), Guilhem Guirado (Perpignan), Lionel Nallet (Racing-Metro), Julien Pierre (Clermont), Jerome Thion (Biarritz), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse, capt), Julien Bonnaire (Clermont), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz), Sebastien Chabal (Racing-Metro)
Morgan Parra (Clermont), Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz), Francois Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Yannick Jauzion (Toulouse), Aurelien Rougerie (Clermont), Vincent Clerc (Toulouse), Yoann Huget (Bayonne), Maxime Medard (Toulouse), Damien Traille (Biarritz), Clement Poitrenaud (Toulouse)