France makes 5 changes to face Wales in 6 Nations
PARIS (AP) France coach Philippe Saint-Andre made five changes to his team to face Wales in the Six Nations on Saturday, recalling scrumhalf Dimitri Yachvili and toughening up his midfield with burly center Florian Fritz.
France gave away two first-half tries in last Sunday's 24-22 loss to England, a defeat which ended French hopes of beating Wales to the Six Nations title. Wales will win the Grand Slam if it beats France, which has conceded seven tries in the last three games.
Yachvili will replace Julien Dupuy, who was dropped after a poor performance against England.
William Servat will return at hooker for the ineffective Dimitri Szarzewski, while Alexis Palisson will get his first start and take Julien Malzieu's place on the left wing, and David Attoub will come in at prop for Nicolas Mas, who has been rested by Saint-Andre because of an unspecified muscle problem.
Vincent Clerc's shoulder injury means Wesley Fofana will switch from inside center to right wing, with Fritz taking Fofana's place alongside Aurelien Rougerie in midfield. They will need to be at their best to counter Wales center Jamie Roberts, one of the most destructive runners in the game. Roberts scored an 80-meter try against Italy last weekend.
Despite an erratic performance against England, flyhalf Lionel Beauxis will get another chance to show Saint-Andre he can rival Francois Trinh-Duc for the coveted No. 10 role.
Powerful locks Yoann Maestri and Pascal Pape, along with the back row of Imanol Harinordoquy, Julien Bonnaire and Thierry Dusautoir, remain unchanged from the England match.
The 20-year-old fullback Jean-Marcellin Buttin is among the reserves and Saint-Andre expects to hand him his debut during the game at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
France: Clement Poitrenaud, Wesley Fofana, Aurelien Rougerie, Florian Fritz, Alexis Palisson, Lionel Beauxis, Dimitri Yachvili; Imanol Harinordoquy, Julien Bonnaire, Thierry Dusautoir (captain), Yoann Maestri, Pascal Pape, David Attoub, William Servat, Jean-Baptiste Poux.
Reserves: Dimitri Szarzewski, Vincent Debaty, Julien Pierre, Louis Picamoles, Morgan Parra, Francois Trinh-Duc, Jean-Marcellin Buttin.
Updated March 15, 2012