Thursday 14 December 2017

Noves makes 'logical' changes

France head coach Guy Noves. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire
France head coach Guy Noves. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire newsdesk

France coach Guy Noves says the three changes to Les Bleus' starting line-up for the Six Nations clash with Ireland are all logical choices.

Prop Rabah Slimani, flanker Bernard Le Roux and wing Yoann Huget come in for Uini Atonio, Loann Goujon and Virimi Vakatawa respectively for the Aviva Stadium clash.

New Zealand-born wing Vakatawa has a thigh injury while Atonio makes way for Slimani, who scored a try against England in the narrow defeat at Twickenham. Back-row forward Goujon has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament after fracturing a bone in his sinuses against Scotland.

France beat Scotland 22-16 at the Stade de France last time out and Noves chose to only made minor adjustments to his team before taking on Joe Schmidt's Ireland.

"Virimi (Vakatawa) was injured after the match against Scotland two weeks ago. We felt that he had to stay with us to take care of himself and work, insofar as he is part of the FFR," the coach said.

"The logic was therefore Yoann (Huget), who is getting back in shape. He is full of enthusiasm, he has been exceptional in his behaviour by putting himself at the service of others."

Meanwhile, flanker John Barclay will captain Scotland for the first time in seven years against Wales tomorrow. Coach Vern Cotter revealed five changes from the side who lost 22-16 in France. Ali Price will make a first international start as replacement at half-back for injured Greig Laidlaw. Injured wing Sean Maitland is replaced by Tim Visser, while fit-again Ryan Wilson comes in at number eight for another injury casualty, Josh Strauss.

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