In-form France forced to make changes

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The Independent Online

France have been hit by the withdrawals of wing Benjamin Fall and lock Pascal Pape ahead of tomorrow's Six Nations game with Wales in Cardiff.

Bayonne threequarter Fall missed the 33-10 victory over Ireland in Paris 11 days ago with a neck problem, but it is an ankle injury suffered in training that keeps him out this time and his place is taken by Julien Malzieu of Clermont Auvergne. Castres' Marc Andreu comes on to the bench as a result. The Stade Français lock Pape also suffered an ankle injury in training and his place is taken by Bourgoin's Julien Pierre, with the former Sale forward Sébastien Chabal coming on to the replacements' bench.

Ireland have chosen to appeal against the six-week suspension given to Jerry Flannery for his lunge on the France winger Alexis Palisson.

The Ospreys say they are "cooperating fully" with a second investigation relating to this season's Heineken Cup. The Welsh regional side were fined and their Wales full-back Lee Byrne had a two-week ban quashed on appeal after he briefly appeared as a 16th player during their pool-stage victory over Leicester last month.

But it has now emerged that European Rugby Cup officials are probing the eligibility of Ospreys' South African scrum-half Ricky Januarie.

Premier Rugby – the organisation that represents the 12 Premiership clubs – has reportedly queried Januarie's eligibility with ERC. Januarie joined the Ospreys on loan from the Cape Town-based Super 14 club the Stormers at the end of November, and is now back playing for them.

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