Fall and Bonnaire start for France
February 22, 2010
Clermont's Julien Bonnaire has been drafted into the French back-row © Getty Images
France coach Marc Lievremont has made two changes for their vital Six Nations fixture against Wales in Cardiff on Friday night.
Julien Bonnaire and Benjamin Fall are drafted into the starting XV following injuries to Fulgence Ouedraogo and Vincent Clerc, with Clermont's Bonnaire set to win his 50th cap.
France have been in ominous form so far in the tournament, powering past Scotland before ending Ireland's hopes of back-to-back Grand Slams with a clinical display at the Stade de France.
Bonnaire joins skipper Thierry Dusautoir and Imanol Harinordoquy in a powerful back-row while Pascal Pape and Lionel Nallet again start in the engine room. Up front, Thomas Domingo and Nicolas Mas are retained either side of hooker William Servat.
The impressive Morgan Parra and Francois Trinh-Duc continue at halfback while wing Alexis Palisson has recovered from the dead leg suffered at the hands of Ireland hooker Jerry Flannery. He joins Fall and Toulouse's Clement Poitrenaud in the back-three.
"Fall is not as experienced as Clerc but we hope the change will not affect the team," Lievremont said. "The return of Bonnaire is logical because he was with us as a playing replacement against Scotland and Ireland and will bring us more options at the line-out.
"We'll travel to Cardiff with a lot of respect for the Welsh but we want to capitalise on our first two wins. I think that, contrary to us, the Welsh had problems in their first half against England and Scotland but played very well at the end of both games. They are yet to play good rugby over 80 minutes but we expect a very tough game on Friday."
France: C Poitrenaud (Toulouse); B Fall (Bayonne), M Bastareaud (Stade Francais), Y Jauzion (Toulouse), A Palisson (Brive); F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), M Parra (Clermont Auvergne); T Domingo (Clermont Auvergne), W Servat (Toulouse), N Mas (Perpignan), L Nallet (Racing-Metro), P Pape (Stade Francais), T Dusautoir (Toulouse, capt), J Bonnaire (Clermont Auvergne), I Harinordoquy (Biarritz)
Replacements: D Szarzewski (Stade Francais), J-B Poux (Toulouse), J Pierre (Clermont Auvergne), A Lapandry (Clermont Auvergne), F Michalak (Toulouse), D Marty (Perpignan), J Malzieu (Clermont Auvergne)
"The thirst for knowledge has seen coaches break away from the confines of rugby and look to America." Tom Hamilton on the two-way learning process
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside