Sunday 18 February 2018

France keep faith in chabal

France coach Marc Lievremont has defended his decision to retain Sebastien Chabal for the Six Nations clash with Italy on Saturday.

No 8 Chabal was expected to be replaced by Biarritz back-row Imanol Harinordoquy after his poor performance in the 17-9 defeat to England last month.

However, Lievremont has kept faith with the Racing Metro star for the trip to the Stadio Flaminio.

"I want to give him playing time," said Lievremont. "I watched the (England) game again and his display didn't seem catastrophic to me. Imanol will start against Wales (a week later)."

Julien Bonnaire returns at openside flanker in place of Harinordoquy, who drops to the bench.

In the only other changes, full-back Maxime Medard comes in for Clement Poitrenaud after recovering from a hamstring injury and veteran prop Sylvain Marconnet replaces Thomas Domingo. "Thomas has played a lot of matches recently and I wanted to see Sylvain," said Lievremont.

France (v Italy) -- M Medard; Y Huget, A Rougerie, Y Jauzion, V Clerc; F Trinh-Duc, D Yachvili; S Chabal, J Bonnaire, T Dusautoir (capt); L Nallet, J Pierre; N Mas, W Servat, S Marconnet. Reps: G Guirado, L Ducalcon, J Thion, I Harinordoquy, M Parra, D Traille, C Poitrenaud.

Irish Independent

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