Grosso starts as France change 12

Date published: September 29 2015

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France coach Philippe Saint-André has made 12 changes to his starting XV as they look to make it three wins from three against Canada on Thursday.

Brice Dulin, Wesley Fofana and Bernard le Roux are the only players selected who also played in the win over Romania, while Rémy Grosso makes his debut.

It is a strong team named by Saint-André, with a core of first choice players as France build up to a likely pool decider against Ireland in Cardiff in a fortnight.

Grosso starts on the right wing having been called into the squad to replace the injured Yoann Huget, with Dulin tested on the left, and hoping to improve on his first game there for les Bleus when he struggled against Anthony Watson.

France's line-up includes 11 players who started their first match against Italy, although there is no place in the 23 for Louis Picamoles or Noa Nakaitaci after back-to-back starts, while Alexandre Dumoulin is included on the bench.

Thierry Dusautoir returns to lead the team, with Fofana and Mathieu Bastareaud linking up in midfield for the first time in the tournament.

Frédéric Michalak, who became France's record points scorer in World Cups against Italy, will start at fly-half, alongside club colleague Sébastien Tillous-Borde.

A bonus-point win would effectively seal France's place in the quarter-finals, ahead of that final game against Ireland in Cardiff.

France: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Remy Grosso, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Brice Dulin, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Bernard Le Roux, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (c), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Pape, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Eddy Ben Arous.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Nicolas Mas, 19 Yannick Nyanga, 20 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 21 Morgan Parra, 22 Remi Tales, 23 Alexandre Dumoulin.

Date: Thursday, October 1
Venue: Stadium MK, Milton Keynes
Kick-off: 20:00 local
Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Angus Gardner (Australia)
Television match official: Graham Hughes (England)

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