Lievremont opts for versatility
France coach Marc Lievremont has revealed it was Alexis Palisson's versatility that saw the Brive wing given the nod ahead of Julien Malzieu for Les Bleus' RBS 6 Nations clash against Ireland.
Lievremont has made only two enforced changes to the team that beat Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday, with Vincent Clerc and Palisson coming in for injured duo Aurelien Rougerie and Benjamin Fall, who were both forced to pull out on Tuesday. Clerc's selection came as little surprise but the inclusion of Palisson, who won the last of his five caps in November 2008, has raised a few more eyebrows.
"The choice of Vincent Clerc didn't cause any debate," said Lievremont. "It was a bit more difficult to choose between Alexis Palisson and Julien Malzieu."
He added: "The versatility of Alexis, who can also play at full-back, made the difference.
"Against Ireland we also thought that Palisson's kicking could be an advantage.
"He will be very useful to release us and will be a good support for Clement Poitrenaud."
France strolled to an 18-9 victory over Scotland on Sunday and will be gunning for a second win at home to Ireland.
However, Lievremont knows they will be in for a much stiffer test on Saturday against the Grand Slam champions.
"We have to give a lot more than against Scotland," he continued. "We'll have to cover the entire pitch to counteract their kicking and the centres will have to be aggressive.
"But we have forewarned the lads they will have to be impeccable in protecting the ball. Ireland were a losing team for a long time, against all expectations considering the talent and their players. But now they have a taste for victory. They make me think of Australia, although with a less polished game."