Clerc reprieved in French reshuffle

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The Independent Online

Vincent Clerc was dropped then recalled yesterday as the France coach, Marc Lièvremont, reshuffled the team that beat Scotland for Saturday's Six Nations game against Ireland.

Lièvremont had announced six changes, handing the right-wing position of Clerc, who scored two tries at Murrayfield, to Aurélien Rougerie and keeping Julien Malzieu on the left. However, Malzieu was later been ruled out because of a torn thigh muscle and Clerc restored to the starting line-up.

In another forced change, Julien Bonnaire comes in at No 8 for Elvis Vermeulen, ruled out for the remainder of the tournament with a fractured rib. Hooker Dimitri Szarzewski, prop Nicolas Mas, lock Arnaud Mela and fly-half David Skrela are also promoted to the starting line-up.

"There are many changes which are a reward for the spirit the replacements showed before and during the match against Scotland," Lièvremont said. "It seems logical to us to see everybody, to give everybody a chance while keeping the team balanced."

Centre David Marty has a back problem but is still expected to be fit.Scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde remains troubled by the knock to his ankle that forced him off at Murrayfield and he is training on his own at the moment.

France team v Ireland (4.00pm, Saturday, Stade de France, Paris): C Heymans (Toulouse); A Rougerie (Clermont-Auvergne), D Marty (Perpignan), D Traille (Biarritz), J Malzieu (Clermont-Auvergne); D Skrela (Stade Francais), J-B Elissalde (Toulouse); N Mas (Perpignan), D Szarzewski (Stade Francais), L Faure (Sale), A Mela (Albi), L Nallet (Castres), F Ouedraogo (Montpellier), T Dusautoir (Toulouse), J Bonnaire (Clermont-Auvergne). Replacements: W Servat (Toulouse), J Brugnaut (Dax), L Jacquet (Clermont-Auvergne), L Picamoles (Montpellier), M Parra (Bourgoin), F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), V Clerc (Toulouse).

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