Ireland's nemesis Clerc returns as lacklustre France ring the changes
Published 11/02/2013 | 13:37
WING Vincent Clerc is back in the France squad for their Six Nations trip to England as coach Philippe Saint-Andre made five changes to the group who started the campaign with back-to-back defeats against Italy and Wales.
The inclusion of Clerc, who was ruled out of the first two matches with a thigh injury, will likely allow Wesley Fofana to move back to centre after the Clermont player started the Italy and Wales games on the wing.
Clerc has been a major thorn in Ireland's side in the past, and will be pushing to play in the game in Dublin next month.
Centre Maxime Mermoz, who was anonymous on Saturday when Les Bleus slumped to a 16-6 defeat at the Stade de France against defending champions Wales, was dropped, as well as loose forwards Fulgence Ouedraogo and Damien Chouly, prop Yannick Forestier and lock Romain Taofifenua.
Ouedraogo suffered a knock during the Wales game.
Saint-Andre called up the uncapped South African-born flanker Antonie Claassen and lock Cristophe Samson, who won one cap last June in a 49-10 win against Argentina.
Flanker Yannick Nyanga, who had been dropped from the squad before the Italy game through injury, returns and loosehead prop Thomas Domingo is back after being dropped from Saint-Andre's initial 33-man group.
France lost 23-18 in Rome in their championship opener before being beaten by Wales. They face England at Twickenham on Feb. 23.
Forwards - Vincent Debaty, Thomas Domingo, Benjamin Kayser, Dimitri Szarzewski, Luc Ducalcon, Nicolas Mas, Yoann Maestri, Christophe Samson, Jocelino Suta, Antonie Claassen, Thierry Dusautoir (captain), Yannick Nyanga, Louis Picamoles,
Backs: Maxime Machenaud, Morgan Parra, Frederic Michalak, Francois Trinh-Duc, Mathieu Bastareaud, Vincent Clerc, Benjamin Fall, Wesley Fofana, Florian Fritz, Yoann Huget