Saint-Andrè changes three

Fri, 07 Feb 2014 12:22
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Philippe  Saint-Andrè has changed three in his starting XV for France's Six Nations match at Stade de France against Italy on Sunday.

Philippe  Saint-Andrè has changed three in his starting XV for France's Six Nations match at Stade de France against Italy on Sunday.

Two of the changes are in the forwards where the bulk and power of Yoann Maestri is preferred to Alexandre Flanquart who played well against England. Flanquart drops right out of the team as Sébastien Vaha'amahina takes Maestri's place on the bench.

The other change is at hooker where Dimitri Szarzewski comes off the bench and Benjamin Kayser goes to the bench.

In the backs Maxime Médard drops out of the team, not, according to Saint-Andrè by way of punishment but to let him relax in club rugby. His place is taken by the slender, fast, skilled, 23-year-old fullback from Stade Français, Hugo Bonneval who makes his debut 30 years after his father Eric made his - against the All Blacks in Auckland. Hugo Bonneval's versatility is similar to Médard's.

Having one fewer forward on the bench this week enables Saint-Andrè to have an extra back and in comes the skilful flyhalf François Trinh-Duc who has had a yoyo career in the French side.

Gaël Fickou is again on the bench. It had been expected that he would start but Saint-Andrè has retained massive Mathieu Bastareaud.

It is also surprising that South African Bernard le Roux has been chosen ahead of Ibrahim Darra who is not even in the team. Bulk, it  seems, matters to Saint-Andrè against Italy.

France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Hugo Bonneval, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Jean Marc Doussain, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Bernard le Roux, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Papé (captain), 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Yannick Forrestier, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Sébastien Vaha'amahina, 20 Damien Chouly, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 François Trinh-Duc, 23 Gaël Fickou.

Date: Sunday, February 9
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 16.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

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