France call on fresh legs

Tue, 26 Feb 2013 12:35
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France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has called up lock Sebastien Vahaamahina and utility back Maxime Medard into his 23-man squad for their Six Nations tussle with Ireland.

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has called up lock Sebastien Vahaamahina and utility back Maxime Medard into his 23-man squad for their Six Nations tussle with Ireland.

Saint-Andre has to conjure a recovery by the French, whose loss to England last week left Les Bleus rooted to the foot of the table after a third straight defeat - something they had not suffered from the outset since 1982 in the old Five Nations.

Perpignan's Vahaamahina, 21, has just one cap to date - earned from the bench in November's Test win over Australia - while Toulouse star Medard, 26, can call on the experience of 31 appearances for his country.

The pair replace Jocelino Suta and Benjamin Fall for the meeting at Stade de France.

"We have made these two changes in order to prepare our final two matches on the basis of our (much improved) match against the English," Saint-Andre said in a statement.

"Collectively, we functioned better at Twickenham and we have to capitalise on that."

Medard, who suffered knee trouble last year to hamper his recent progress, was a late call-up to the squad just ahead of the tournament after Castre's Brice Dulin dropped out through injury but was not retained.

He only returned to competition in November but impressed for his club on Saturday, scoring a try in a thumping win over Bayonne.

AFP

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