Wounded France make seven changes for Scotland game

Coach Philippe Saint-Andre admits a number of players dropped after Welsh defeat

Outhalf  Jules Plisson will start his fourth straight game against Scotland at Murrayfield. Photograph:   David Rogers/Getty Images

Outhalf Jules Plisson will start his fourth straight game against Scotland at Murrayfield. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

 

France manager Philippe Saint-Andre has made seven changes to the team that put in a dismal display against Wales as Les Bleus seek to put their Six Nations challenge back on track when they face Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Saint-Andre has remained loyal to Jules Plisson at outhalf for the fourth match in a row, pairing the Stade Francais player with Maxime Machenaud and relegating Jean-Marc Doussain to the bench.

The entire backrow has changed with Damien Chouly, Alexandre Lapandry and Sebastien Vahaamahina forming a combination that provides more power than pace.

“Some changes were made because of injuries,” Saint-Andre told a news conference on Thursday, referring to hooker Dimitri Szarzewski, centre Wesley Fofana and flanker Yannick Nyanga.

Others were simply punished after France produced a miserable performance in a 27-6 defeat in Cardiff on February 21st.

“When you start one game but not the following one, it is a sanction,” said Saint-Andre, who axed number eight Louis Picamoles from the squad after he sarcastically applauded Irish referee Alain Rolland at the Millennium Stadium when he was sin-binned.

“If we want Pascal Pape to do his job as a captain, he needs to have 14 players around him who are focused on working on the pitch,” Saint-Andre warned.

France are one of four teams level on four points after three games and beating Scotland would set up a mouth-watering finale against Ireland at the Stade de France on Saturday week.

“Players owe themselves a chance of revenge,” Saint-Andre said.

“Let’s not lie to ourselves...we were just not there against Wales. We were beaten on the essence of our sport: combat.”

FRANCE (v Scotland, Murrayfield, Saturday): B Dulin (Castres); Y Huget (Toulouse), M Bastareaud (Toulon), M Mermoz (Toulon), M Medard (Toulouse); J Plisson (Stade Francais), M Machenaud (Racing Metro); T Domingo (Clermont Auvergne), B Mach (Castres), N Mas (Montpellier), Y Maestri (Toulouse), P Pape (Stade Francais, capt), S Vahaamahina (Perpignan), A Lapandry (Clermont Auvergne), D Chouly (Clermont Auvergne). Replacements: G Guirado (Perpignan), V Debaty (Clermont Auvergne), R Slimani (Stade Francais), A Flanquart (Stade Francais), A Claassen (Castres), J-M Doussain (Toulouse), R Tales (Castres), G Fickou (Toulouse).

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