France make four changes for clash with Ireland

Gael Fickou and Remy Tales to make first Six Nations starts in Paris

France’s  Louis Picamoles applauds referee Alain Rolland after the Irish referee showed him a yellow card in the game against Wales in Cardiff. Photograph:   Stu Forster/Getty Images

France’s Louis Picamoles applauds referee Alain Rolland after the Irish referee showed him a yellow card in the game against Wales in Cardiff. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Thu, Mar 13, 2014, 10:10

France coach Phillipe Saint-Andre has made four changes to his starting XV for Saturday evening’s Six Nations clash against Ireland in Paris.

Toulouse teenager Gael Fickou comes in to make his first Six Nations start at inside centre alongside Mathieu Bastareaud with Maxime Mermoz dropping to the bench. Castres outhalf Remy Tales also makes his starting debut in the competition, coming in for Jules Plisson, who is dropped from the matchday squad.

There are also two changes to the pack, with hooker Dimitri Szarzewski returning from injury to take over from Brice Mach, who is also dropped from the 23.

Louis Picamoles returns from his suspension for applauding the yellow card he received from referee Alain Rolland in the defeat to Wales. The Toulouse player will start at blindside flanker, with Sebastien Vahaamahina moving to the bench.

Saint-Andre has named six forwards in his replacements, bringing in Racing Metro flanker Wenceslas Lauret, with Jean-Marc Doussain will covering both halfback conditions backline.

FRANCE (v Ireland, Stade De France, Saturday, 6.0pm, 5.0pm Irish time): B Dulin (Castres); Y Huget (Toulouse), M Bastareaud (Toulon), G Fickou (Toulouse), M Medard (Toulouse); R Tales (Castres), M Machenaud (Racing Metro); T Domingo (Clermont Auvergne), D Szarzewski (Stade Francais), N Mas (Montpellier); P Pape (Stade Francais, capt), Y Maestri (Toulouse); L Picamoles (Toulouse), A Lapandry (Clermont Auvergne), D Chouly (Clermont Auvergne).

Replacements: G Guirado (Perpignan), V Debaty (Clermont Auvergne), R Slimani (Stade Francais), A Flanquart (Stade Francais), S Vahaamahina (Perpignan), W Lauret (Racing Metro), J-M Doussain (Toulouse), M Mermoz (Toulon).

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