Six Nations 2013: France make three changes for Scotland meeting
The sides meet in Paris on Saturday
Thursday 14 March 2013
France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has made three changes to his starting XV for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations meeting with Scotland in Paris.
The French, who are bidding to avoid going winless through a Five/Six Nations campaign for the first time since 1957, have recalled centre Mathieu Bastareaud, while lock Sebastien Vahaamahina and flanker Antoine Claassen come in for their first international starts.
Bastareaud takes over from Florian Fritz, who has a foot infection and may not make the bench, while Vahaamahina comes in for Christophe Samson and Claassen gets the nod ahead of Yannick Nyanga.
The omission of Nyanga has raised eyebrows after he performed so well in the Autumn Tests, but Saint-Andre said: "Yannick does not have the same freshness as in November.
"He was a great leader and key in the tackle, but he has not been breaking up play as well as in November and he knows it."
Frederic Michalak remains at fly-half, again preferred to Francois Trinh-Duc despite having a poor game with the ball at his feet and in his hands during last weekend's 13-13 draw with Ireland, while lock Yoann Maestri has overcome a shoulder problem and will start.
On Michalak's inclusion, Saint-Andre said: "The Stade de France will be behind the France team and Michalak.
"I cannot imagine that those who celebrated him in November will boo."
France have just one point to their name after last week's draw with Ireland was preceded by defeats to Italy, Wales and England, and they will finish without a win for the first time in 56 years if they fail to defeat a Scotland side searching for a first victory in Paris since 1999.
But Saint-Andre insists he still has the essence of a good team, and added: "To build a great team, you have to know how to lose. It is from defeat that you will see great teams emerge.
"But I know that this group has soul and pride. I can sense their reaction.
"They need to let themselves go for the whole 80 minutes."
France team to play Scotland in Paris on Saturday: Huget; Clerc, Bastareaud, Fofana, Medard; Michalak, Parra; Domingo, Kayser, Mas, Vahaamahina, Maestri, Claassen, Dusautoir (capt), Picamoles.
Replacements: Guirado, Debaty, Ducalcon, Samson, Nyanga, Machenaud, Trinh-Duc, Fritz or Fickou.
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