France forced to ring changes

Wed, 05 Mar 2014 19:17
Large philippe saint andre walks

France will be missing 12 potential first-choice players when they travel to Edinburgh to face Scotland in the Six Nations on Saturday.

France will be missing 12 potential first-choice players when they travel to Edinburgh to face Scotland in the Six Nations on Saturday.

But for those set to fill the void, it is an opportunity to prove they belong at this level.

For various reasons, coach Philippe Saint-Andre will have to do without a host of players who mostly would have been in his 23-man match-day squad.

No.8 Louis Picamoles has been suspended by the French federation for sarcastically applauding Irish referee Alain Rolland during the 6-27 defeat to Wales in Cardiff 10 days ago.

Scrumhalf Morgan Parra is suspended after being sent-off for his club side Clermont for headbutting New Zealander Rene Ranger.

But others, centres Wesley Fofana and Florian Fritz, wing Sofiane Guitoune, flyhalf Camille Lopez, flanks Thierry Dusautoir, Yannick Nyanga, Fulgence Ouedraogo and Bernard Le Roux or hookers Benjamin Kayser and Dimitri Szarzewski, are all injured.

It means that for players such as Clermont No.8 Damian Chouly, this is a chance to prove he can step up to the plate.

"We're not going to exploit others' pain but then again, he [Picamoles] is not there so for sure it gives me a chance to play," said the 28-year-old who has been capped 16 times.

Another who could get his chance, due to a poor performance by Jean-Marc Doussain against Wales, is Racing-Metro scrum-half Maxime Machenaud.

Given the absence of Parra, many were surprised to see him lining up on the bench for France's first three Six Nations matches, but he looks set to get a start at Murrayfield.

"I was obviously disappointed to be a substitute but then I still had a role to play [coming off the bench] and I tried to give 300 percent. But what I really want is to start matches," said the 25-year-old of 14 caps.

AFP

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