Guy Novès has made six changes for Saturday’s Six Nations meeting with Ireland after his team’s nervy opening win against Italy.
Novès brings in the wing Teddy Thomas and centre Maxime Mermoz to replace Hugo Bonneval, who is named on the bench, and Gaël Fickou, who has been absent this week for personal reasons.
In the forwards, the props Eddy Ben Arous and Rabah Slimani drop to the bench as Novès prefers Jefferson Poirot and Uini Atonio either side of the captain Guilhem Guirado, with the lock Paul Jedresiak and injured flanker Louis Picamoles making way as Alexandre Flanquart and Yacouba Camara come in.
The sevens specialist Virimi Vakatawa keeps his place on the wing after making a try-scoring full international debut against Italy last Saturday, when France scraped a 23-21 win.
Novès said: “We’ve worked on our defensive organisation to try to counter the Irish. It will be a difficult match, we hope it will be tricky for Ireland too.
“We’ve prepared for this match by getting it into our heads that we have to show more power.”
France team to play Ireland, Stade de France, 2.25pm Sat 13 Feb
M Médard (Toulouse); T Thomas (Racing), M Mermoz (Toulon), J Danty (Stade Français), V Vakatawa (French Rugby Federation); J Plisson (Stade Français), S Bézy (Toulouse); J Poirot (Bordeaux), G Guirado (Toulon, capt), U Atonio (La Rochelle), A Flanquart (Stade Français), Y Maestri (Toulouse), W Lauret (Racing), Y Camara (Toulouse), D Chouly (Clermont Auvergne).
Replacements C Chat (Racing), R Slimani (Stade Français), EB Arous (Racing), P Jedresiak (Clermont Auvergne), L Goujon (Bordeaux), M Machenaud (Racing), J-M Doussain (Toulouse), H Bonneval (Stade Français).