Radical changes for France

Date published: March 12 2015

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France head coach Philippe Saint-André has made a huge eight changes to his side for this weekend's clash with Italy.

Uini Atonio and Brice Dulin miss out altogether as France search for inspiration by making a number of alterations to the side that faced Wales. Morgan Parra, Rémi Lamerat and Wesley Fofana all miss out due to injury.

Scott Spedding returns at full-back with Maxime Mermoz and Gaël Fickou forming a new centre partnership in place of Lamerat and Fofana.

Noa Nakaitaci comes in on the left wing for Sofiane Guitoune, who withdrew through injury this week, to make his Test debut, while there is a first start at number eight for the highly-rated Loann Goujon.

Nicolas Mas is the only other change to the pack at tighthead prop, coming in for Rabah Slimani who drops to the bench.

Other inclusions among the substitutes are two half-backs in Rory Kockott and Jules Plisson, with Slimani, Romain Taofifenua and Damien Chouly all dropping out of the starting XV.

France: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Gaël Fickou, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Noa Nakaitaci, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Sébastian Tillous-Borde, 8 Loann Goujon, 7 Bernard le Roux, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (c), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Alexandre Flanquart, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Eddy Ben Arous
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Rabah Slimani, 18 Vincent Debaty, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Damien Chouly, 21 Rory Kockott, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Mathieu Bastareaud

Date: Sunday, March 15
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Kickoff: 16:00 local (15:00 GMT)
Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant Referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

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