Three changes for Les Bleus
France boss Philippe Saint-Andre has shaken up his back division with three changes for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash with Ireland in Dublin.
After defeats to Italy, Wales and England, France are bidding to regain some pride over their remaining matches against the Irish and Scotland.
To that end Saint-Andre has decided his pack needs no alteration from the loss at Twickenham last time out but the backs require an overhaul, and in come centre Florian Fritz, wing Maxime Medard and fly-half Frederic Michalak with Benjamin Fall, Mathieu Bastareaud and Francois Trinh-Duc dropping out, the latter two featuring among the replacements.
Michalak and Morgan Parra will become the third half-back partnership France have deployed in this year's championship.
Explaining the latest of those half-back combinations, Saint-Andre said of Michalak and Parra: "They have already played together against Samoa in November.
"For the Ireland match, we wanted to have two goal-kickers. Fred will be the number one kicker, Morgan will take the kicks from further away because he has five metres more in his legs.
"But we are still in a construction phase and it isn't extraordinary for us to look to test the half-back axis."
Maxime Machenaud and Trinh-Duc will be raring to be involved off the bench, with Saint-Andre pointing out they remain firmly in his plans.
"For nine matches, we have been using the same four players," he said.
"In November we used the Machenaud-Michalak combination a lot. Maxime (Machenaud) has played a lot in recent months, he is young and he is discovering the highest level. Morgan has played excellent matches for France and for Clermont.
"We need to find an 80-minute performance. At the moment we aren't doing that.
"The role of the France team is to win in style. But in our current situation, we'd sign for even a 3-0 win straightaway."
Saint-Andre said that putting versatile back Medard on the wing was a sensible step, given the options at his disposal.
Medard suffered a serious knee ligament injury during last year's Six Nations clash with Scotland that ruled him out of the autumn Tests, but he is fully fit again.
Saint-Andre said, according to L'Equipe: "Maxime will give us his left foot. He will alternate between the wing and full-back according to our needs.
"But I would rather he starts on the wing because it's in that position that he has played most often since his return from injury. And Yoann Huget has been very satisfactory at full-back, notably in defence on the high balls."
France team to play Ireland in the RBS 6 Nations in Dublin on Saturday:
Yoann Huget; Vincent Clerc, Florian Fritz, Wesley Fofana, Maxime Medard; Frederic Michalak, Morgan Parra; Louis Picamoles, Thierry Dusautoir (captain), Yannick Nyanga, Yoann Maestri, Christophe Samson, Nicolas Mas, Benjamin Kayser, Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: Guilhem Guirado, Vincent Debaty, Luc Ducalcon, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Antonie Claassen, Maxime Machenaud, Francois Trinh-Duc, Mathieu Bastareaud.
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