Six Nations

France make triple change for Ireland trip

2017-02-23 13:00
Guy Noves (File)

Paris - France coach Guy Novès has made three changes to his side for Saturday's Six Nations clash against Ireland in Dublin.

Rabah Slimani, Bernard Le Roux and Yoann Huget all start as Virimi Vakatawa, Loann Goujon and Unini Atonio drop out of the side that defeated Scotland 22-16 last time out.

Prop Slimani comes in at tighthead in place of Atonio, who drops to the bench, with flank Le Roux and fullback Huget replacing injured pair Loann Goujon and Virimi Vakatawa. 

Toulouse's Huget has not featured since the first November Test against Samoa. 

"The logic was (to replace Vakatawa by) Yoann who is returning to form", after a serious knee injury during the opening game of the 2015 World Cup, Noves explained.

Vakatawa had been systemically selected since Noves took over as France coach but failed to fire against Scotland and was replaced early.

No fly-half has been named on the bench with scrumhalf Baptiste Serin and fullback Scott Spedding ready to step in should Camille Lopez retire injured.

Racing 92's Le Roux returns after being hampered by injuries since the 2016 Six Nations, as Charles Ollivon drops to the bench, to support Louis Picamoles amd Kévin Gourdon.

Stade Francais prop Slimani comes in as Atonio struggled during the first two matches of the tournament with France losing their opener 19-16 at champions England.

"Rabah was convincing each time he came on, the scrum is one of Ireland's strong points. It was logical to allow him to start, he is a very serious and very fit boy," Noves added.

Uncapped centre Henry Chavancy and wing Djibril Camara are both on the bench.

Both Ireland and France won one and lost one of their opening two Six Nations games and a victory is vital to stay in the hunt to win this season's championship.

France beat Scotland 22-16 in Paris last time out while Ireland thrashed Italy 63-10 in Rome.



15 Rob Kearney; 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Simon Zebo; 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray; 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 CJ Stander; 5 Devin Toner, 4 Donnacha Ryan; 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Jack McGrath

Substitutes: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Cian Healy, 18 John Ryan, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Peter O'Mahony, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Paddy Jackson, 23 Andrew Trimble


15 Scott Spedding, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Rémi Lamerat, 12 Gaël Fickou, 11 Noa Nakaitaci, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kévin Gourdon, 6 Bernard le Roux, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Cyril Baille

Substitutes: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Uini Atonio, 18 Xavier Chiocci, 19 Julian Le Devedec, 20 Charles Ollivon, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Henry Chavancy, 23 Djibril Camara

Read more on:    ireland  |  france  |  six nations  |  guy noves  |  rugby


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