Picamoles hits 50 for France

Date published: October 9 2015

Louis Picamoles returns at number eight as France coach Philippe Saint-André makes three changes for Sunday's Pool A showdown in Cardiff.

Picamoles will win his 50th cap, becoming the 53rd French player to reach this milestone.

Saint-André has made two personnel changes and one positional switch to the run-on side that started in the 41-18 victory over Canada, the fewest changes for a France team in their last RWC pool phase match since 1991.

Picamoles and wing Noa Nakaitaci, who both started France's first two matches, return to the starting line-up in place of Bernard Le Roux and Remy Grosso respectively. 

Damien Chouly switches from number eight to openside flanker.

The starting XV for the match against Ireland has 13 starters from France's opening match, a 32-10 win over Italy, with the only changes being the then injured Wesley Fofana for Alexandre Dumoulin at 12 and Brice Dulin for Yoann Huget, on the left wing. Huget's participation in the world Cup was ended by an injury in that match.

Noa Nakaitaci will play on the right wing, having played on the left in his first two matches.

Thierry Dusautoir will captain France for the 55th time, joining former Australia lock John Eales in seventh place on the all-time list.

Ten of France's starting XV also started the Six Nations match against Ireland in February, which Les Bleus lost 18-11 in Dublin. Seven of the eight forwards – all except Le Roux –  return from that day and three of the backs (Fofana, Mathieu Bastareaud, Scott Spedding).

France: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Noa Nakaitaci, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Brice Dulin, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Damien Chouly, 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 Alexandre Flanquart, 20 Bernard Le Roux, 21 Morgan Parra, 22 Remi Tales, 23 Alexandre Dumoulin.

Date: Sunday, October 12
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 16:45 local (15:45 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Leighton Hodges (Wales)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)