Planet Rugby

Picamoles at 6, Fickou starts for France

13th March 2014 09:30

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Louis Picamoles France training 2013

Starting at 6: Louis Picamoles

France coach Philippe Saint-André has made four changes to his starting XV for Saturday's Six Nations finale against Ireland in Paris.

Three of the four are bold changes as Toulouse number eight Louis Picamoles returns to the group but starts on the side of the scrum in the place of Sébastien Vahaamahina.

Stade Français fly-half Jules Plisson is dropped completely from the squad in favour of Castres pivot Remi Tálès, who is promoted from the bench.

Gaël Fickou starts at inside centre ahead of Maxime Mermoz, who is one of just two backs amongst the replacements.

Racing Métro hooker Dimitri Szarzewski returns from an ankle injury to replace Brice Mach, who also drops out of the matchday 23 with Guilhem Guirado retaining his place on the bench.

"[Picamoles] will alternate with Damien Chouly during the game," explained Saint-André.

"But I don't want to say any more regarding our strategy as I'm sure there are Irish journalists in the room."

France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Gaël Fickou , 11 Maxime Médard, 10 Remi Tálès, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Louis Picamoles, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Papé, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Guilhem Guirado, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Alexandre Flanquart, 20 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 21 Wenceslas Lauret, 22 Jean-Marc Doussain, 23 Maxime Mermoz.

Date: Saturday, March 15
Venue: Stade de France, St. Dennis (Paris)
Kick-off: 18.00 local (17.00 GMT)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)

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