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Last throw of the dice for France

Thu, 15 Mar 2012 00:00
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French coach Philippe Saint-Andre has made five changes to his side to face unbeaten Wales on the final day of the Six Nations tournament in Cardiff on Saturday.

Prop David Attoub and hooker William Servat come into the front row in a pack that is otherwise unchanged from the side that lost 22-24 to England last weekend, wrecking French hopes of defending the title they won last year.

Dimitri Yachvili gets a recall at scrumhalf replacing the disappointing Julien Dupuy, while Florian Fritz is in at centre and Alexis Palisson comes back in on the wing.

Wesley Fofana, who has scored tries in each of France's four games so far in the tournament, switches to the wing to make way for Fritz.

France have no hope of winning the Six Nations title after two wins, one draw and one defeat, while their opponents will be aiming to complete the Grand Slam.

"I expect them to play with pride, with conviction and unity," Saint-Andre said.

"Its true that we cannot win the tournament, but after all they will be playing for their country.

"And on top of that it will be a hostile environment - they will be going for the Grand Slam and will be out for revenge for the loss to us in the World Cup semifinal."

"Also it will be the last match in a France shirt for William Servat and Julien Bonnaire and I am sure the players will want to get behind them and help them go out on a winning note in Cardiff.

"We will have to be strong physically, we will have to be strong as a team, we will have to strong mentally and in defense and man-to-man.

"They are a team that knows how to hold on to the ball and have a lot of power at their disposal. They will be playing in their own back garden with the Grand Slam within reach. We will be up against not just the Welsh team but a whole nation."

France: 15 Clement Poitrenaud, 14 Wesley Fofana, 13 Aurelien Rougerie, 12 Florian Fritz, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Lionel Beauxis, 9 Dimitri Yachvili, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Julien Bonnaire, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Papé, 3 David Attoub, 2 William Servat, 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Julien Pierre, 19 Louis Picamoles, 20 Morgan Parra, 21 Francois Trinh-Duc, 22 Jean-Marcellin Buttin.

Date: Saturday, March 17
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 14.45 (14.45 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Stuart Terheege (England)
TMO: Iain Ramage (Scotland)

AFP

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