Poitrenaud returns for France

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The Independent Online

Clement Poitrenaud, Florian Fritz and Lionel Beauxis will start for France for the first time since 2007 in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations opener against Ireland in Dublin.

While the return of fly-half Beauxis and centre Fritz were expected, Poitrenaud's recall at full-back raised the eyebrows.

The Toulouse number 15's last match at international level came in Les Bleus' 34-10 defeat by Argentina in the World Cup bronze medal play-off in October 2007.

That was also Beauxis' last appearance for France while Fritz has to go back even further, to February that year in a Six Nations away match against Italy, for his most recent Les Bleus game.

Poitrenaud's inclusion means Toulouse team-mate Maxime Medard moves from full-back - the position he played in all three of France's November Tests - to the wing, where he displaces another club colleague, Cedric Heymans.

France backs coach Emile Ntamack said: "We especially wanted to include the men in form and Clement Poitrenaud deserves to be in the team.

"He has showed some good things for his club and we are rewarding those players who have shown the most consistency."

Fritz was always likely to come in at centre, where he resumes his midfield partnership with Yannick Jauzion, who he plays alongside at Toulouse.

And with Beauxis the only specialist fly-half in France's 23-man squad named last week, the Stade Francais pivot was a shoo-in for a recall to the starting XV.

Beauxis will partner Sebastien Tillous-Borde at half-back for the first time for Les Bleus, the Castres scrum-half having been given the nod over Morgan Parra at number nine.

Head coach Marc Lievremont said: "It is an untried half-back pairing because it is the first time that we have been able to include Lionel Beauxis, who had to pull out in November.

"Sebastien Tillous-Borde is bringing a new dimension to his club."

In the forwards, the fit-again Imanol Harinordoquy has been named at number eight at the expense of Louis Picamoles, while Sale's Sebastien Chabal retains his spot at lock, where he will partner captain Lionel Nallet.

Nicolas Mas is surprisingly left on the bench, with Benoit Lecouls preferred as prop.

Biarritz prop Fabien Barcella is the one player from the 23-man group who does not make the squad for Saturday.

France have beaten Ireland the last two times the countries have met in Dublin, at Croke Park in 2007 and at Lansdowne Road in 2005.

France team to face Ireland in the RBS 6 Nations at Croke Park on Saturday:

Clement Poitrenaud (Toulouse); Julien Malzieu (Clermont-Auvergne), Florian Fritz, Yannick Jauzion, Maxime Medard (all Toulouse); Lionel Beauxis (Stade Francais), Sebastien Tillous-Borde (Castres); Lionel Faure (Sale), Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Francais), Benoit Lecouls (Toulouse), Sebastien Chabal (Sale), Lionel Nallet (Castres, capt), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse), Fulgence Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz).

Replacements: Benjamin Kayser (Leicester), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Romain Millo-Chluski (Toulouse), Louis Picamoles (Montpellier), Morgan Parra (Bourgoin), Benoit Baby (Clermont-Auvergne), Cedric Heymans (Toulouse).

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