Bastareaud remains benched as Sebastien Tillous-Borde returns for France

Eight changes to team to face Italy as halfback partnership restored

France’s scrum half Sebastien Tillous Borde is one of eigth changes to their team for Italy clash. Photogarph: Franck Fife/Getty Images

France’s scrum half Sebastien Tillous Borde is one of eigth changes to their team for Italy clash. Photogarph: Franck Fife/Getty Images

 

France head coach Philippe Saint-Andre reverted to his favoured halfback pairing of Sebastien Tillous-Borde and Camille Lopez when he named them on Thursday in a reshuffled team to face Italy in the Six Nations on Sunday.

Scrumhalf Tillous-Borde and outhalf Lopez started all three November tests but the Toulon player missed the first two Six Nations games through injury before starting on the bench for the third.

France started with a 15-8 home win against Scotland before losing 18-11 in Ireland and went down 20-13 against Wales at the Stade de France.

Saint-Andre made eight changes to the team who lost against Wales after the squad was hit by a series of injuries, with scrumhalf Morgan Parra, centres Remi Lamerat and Wesley Fofana as well as wing Sofiane Guitoune being ruled out.

Fullback Brice Dulin was replaced by Scott Spedding while wing Noa Nakaitaci and number eight Loann Goujon have been handed their first start with Les Bleus.

Centre Maxime Mermoz will start in his first appearance in this year’s championship.

France, who finished fourth last year and ended up with the wooden spoon in 2013, are fourth in the standings before travelling to Italy and England.

FRANCE: Scott Spedding; Yoann Huget, Gael Fickou, Maxime Mermoz, Noa Nakaitaci; Camille Lopez, Sebastien Tillous-Borde; Eddy Ben Arous, Guilhem Guirado, Nicolas Mas; Alexandre Flanquart, Yoann Maestri; Thierry Dusautoir, Bernard Le Roux, Loann Goujon.

Replacements: Benjamin Kaiser, Rabah Slimani, Vincent Debaty, Romain Taofifenua, Damien Chouly, Rory Kockott, Jules Plisson, Mathieu Bastareaud.

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