Saturday 16 December 2017

Bastareaud dropped to bench

Mathieu Bastareaud will be on the bench when France continue their Grand Slam bid against Italy on Sunday.

The powerhouse Stade Francais centre has been one of the tournament's star players and scored two tries in Les Bleus' opening win over Scotland, but he has been struggling with a calf injury. He is replaced by Perpignan's David Marty in one of two changes by coach Marc Lievremont for the game at the Stade de France.

The other sees Castres' Marc Andreu replace Julien Malzieu of Clermont Auvergne on the wing.

On the bench, scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili returns in place of Frederic Michalak, who faces up to a year on the sidelines with torn cruciate ligaments.

Marty (27) has scored five tries in his 13 Six Nations outings, though four of those appearances have come from the bench -- including in all three of this season's games. He has scored two tries in the domestic Top 14 this season and will now have the opportunity to make an impact for his country from the outset.

Andreu made his debut off the bench as a late replacement during the thrilling win over Wales two weeks ago.

France -- C Poitrenaud; M Andreu, D Marty, Y Jauzion, A Palisson; F Trinh-Duc, M Parra; T Domingo, W Servat, N Mas; L Nallet, J Pierre; T Dusautoir (capt), J Bonnaire, I Harinordoquy. Replacements: D Szarzewski, J-B Poux , S Chabal, A Lapandry, D Yachvili, M Bastareaud, J Malzieu.

Irish Independent

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