France coach Guy Noves rings in the changes for clash with Ireland
French coach Guy Noves has made six changes to the side that narrowly defeated Italy last weekend for Saturday's Six Nations clash with Ireland.
In a move that is eerily familiar to that of his predecessor Philippe Saint Andre, Noves has tinkered considerably with the team that were scintillating in attack as they went over for three fine tries, but passive in defence, en route to 23-21 victory over the Azzurri in Paris.
The former Toulouse coach has made three changes in the tight five, two of which come in the front row. Props Uni Antonio and Jefferson Poiriot, who both came off the bench last weekend, have been drafted in ahead of Eddy Ben Arous and Rabah Slimani respectively.
In the second row Alexandre Flanquart is preferred to Paul Jedrasiak, and will partner Yoann Maestri, while Guilhem Guirado continues at hooker and captain.
With Louis Picamoles out for the remainder of the tournament with a hamstring injury, Damien Chouly moves from openside falnker to number eight, Wenceslas Lauret moves from blindside to the number 7 and Yacouba Camara completes the pack.
In the back line Noves has, in a surprising move, drafted in Teddy Thomas ahead of Hugo Bonneval, who went over for the decisive try against Italy and, in the centre, Maxime Mermox has ousted Gael Fickou.
At half-back it's as you were, with Jules Plisson still the pivot of choice and Sebastien Bezy continuing at scrum-half. While hulking winger Virimi Vakatawa and Jonathan Danty are retained on the wing and at first centre respectively. Maxime Medard, very impressive from broken play last week, will once more don the number 15 shirt.
France side to face Ireland
Maxime Medard, Teddy Tomas, Maxime Mermox, Jonathan Danty, Virimi Vakatawa, Jules Plisson, Sebastian Bez, Uni Antonio, Guilhem Guirado, Jefferson Poirot, Alexandre Flanquart, Yoaan Maestri, Yacouba Camara, Wenceslas Lauret, Damien Chouly
Replacements: Camille Chat , Rabah Slimani , Eddy Ben Arous, Paul Jedresiak, Loann Goujon, Maxime Machenaud, Jean-Marc Doussain, Hugo Bonneval.