France make five changes for Italy

Date published: February 21 2018

France have made five changes to their starting XV to face Italy at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille on Friday night in Round Three of the Six Nations.

Mathieu Bastareaud returns in the midfield, where he will partner Geoffrey Doumayrou, while it is also all change in the back three.

Hugo Bonneval comes in at full-back, with Benjamin Fall and Rémy Grosso getting their first starts of the campaign on the wings.

The final change comes in the pack where Paul Gabrillagues gets the nod in the second row in place of Arthur Iturria.

There are also changes on the bench where Lyon and former France Under-20s scrum-half Baptiste Couilloud is set to make his debut.

The other changes see first championship appearances in 2018 for Romain Taofifenua, Kélian Galletier, François Trinh-Duc and Gaël Fickou.

This will be France's first home championship game played outside Paris, with the team having spent the week training in Aix-en-Provence to prepare for the Marseille clash.

France: 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 Benjamin Fall, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Rémy Grosso, 10 Lionel Beauxis, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16 Adrien Pelissié, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Cedate Gomes Sa, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Kélian Galletier, 21 Baptiste Couilloud, 22 François Trinh-Duc, 23 Gaël Fickou

Date: Friday, February 23
Venue: Stade Vélodrome
Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: John Lacey (Ireland), Luke Pearce (England)
Television match official: David Grashoff (England)


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