Paris - France have named uncapped Wesley
Fofana in their team to face Italy in the opening game of the Six
Nations at the Stade de France on Saturday with manager Philippe
Saint-Andre saying his selection shows there are opportunities for young
"We want to show that the France team is open to
young players who are regular starters with their club," Saint-Andre,
who took over from Marc Lievremont last December, told a news conference
at France's training camp on the outskirts of Paris.
Fofana will partner Clermont team mate Aurelien Rougerie in a team
featuring 12 players from the World Cup squad that reached the final
against New Zealand last October.
"He is a classy player, I just want him not to be shy. I want him to show with France what he has been showing in the Top 14.
"He is one of the rare players who kept their place in their club's
starting lineup when the others returned from the World Cup."
The presence of Rougerie should help Fofana on his international debut
as France will be out to avenge last year's Six Nations defeat by Italy.
"His presence is reassuring, he's the daddy of the backline and
the fact that they play club rugby together was a factor," Saint-Andre
The powerful Louis Picamoles will start as number eight at the expense of Imanol Harinordoquy.
"He is powerful and he has been impressive with his club since he came
back from the World Cup, while Imanol was out injured for three weeks,"
Francois Trinh-Duc will start at flyhalf as expected, with Dimitri Yachvili at scrumhalf.
Belgian-born Vincent Debaty, who has only won one cap for France back
in 2006, will start at loosehead prop, where he is expected to challenge
Italy's Martin Castrogiovanni.
Debaty was impressive against Castrogiovanni in Clermont's 30-12 victory over Leicester in the Heineken Cup last month.
"Castrogiovanni is one of the best props is the world but I trust Vincent," said Saint-Andre.
"It's an opportunity he has to seize. We know he carries the ball very well, but we will also expect him to gain possession."Team:
15. Maxime Medard, 14. Vincent Clerc, 13. Aurelien Rougerie, 12. Wesley Fofana, 11. Julien Malzieu, 10. François Trinh-Duc, 9. Dimitri Yachvili, 8. Louis Picamoles, 7. Julien Bonnaire, 6. Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5. Lionel Nallet, 4. Pascal Pape, 3. Nicolas Mas, 2. William Servat, 1. Vincent Debaty.
Substitutes: 16. Dimitri Szarzewski, 17. Jean-Baptiste Poux, 18. Yoann Maestri, 19. Imanol Harinordoquy, 20. Morgan Parra, 21. Lionel Beauxis, 22. Maxime Mermoz.