France change six for Wales
March 12, 2012
Jean-Marcellin Buttin is a shock addition to the France squad © Getty Images
Philippe Saint-Andre has called upon six fresh faces for their final match of the Six Nations against France on Saturday.
Vincent Clerc dislocated his shoulder in the loss to England and faces a spell on the sidelines so Toulon's Alexis Palisson is called into the frame. Julien Dupuy is omitted with Biarritz's Dimitri Yachvili thrust back into the scrum-half reckoning.
Elsewhere, Julien Pierre, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Jean-Marcellin Buttin and Florian Fritz all earn call ups. The quartet are called up at the expense of Lionel Nallett, Julien Malzieu and Maxime Mermoz.
Saint-Andre admitted that he was keen to give some of France's golden generation one last outing against Wales - notably Nallet who looks certain to now retire from international rugby - but in the end the head ruled the heart.
"It's sort of a page that's turning," said Saint-Andre. "We would have liked for the veterans to have an exceptional jubilee Saturday in Cardiff. This isn't the case.
"I wanted to really thank Lionel Nallet regarding his spirit, his professionalism. I was lucky to coach him at Bourgoin and again in the France team. He knew that we had a sort of a deal together - if we played a final at Cardiff, he would have continued the adventure. Unfortunately the adventure finishes here. The younger players learned a lot from him from his commitment to the group and his professionalism as a first team player and substitute."
And in regards to Dupuy, Saint-Andre was much more ruthless. "Julien Dupuy struggled with the rhythm, speed and intensity at this level," said Saint-Andre. "Physically he was finished after half an hour. At international level, that's not possible. That's why he won't be back.
"Julien Malzieu had a very good start to the Championship, but was very tired against the English. I want consistency at international level."
Buttin is currently uncapped and was understandably shocked when he received the news. "I am still surprised. It's crazy," Buttin told Midi Olympique. "I do not know what to say. I'm confused, everything has moved very fast but I'm really happy.
"Now I must pack my bags in a hurry before going to the airport. Last season, I was not even sure of have a place in the Under-20s and I did not expect to have as much playing time with Clermont but they received one injury after another. Now, I cannot wait to be there and show the selectors they were right. "
France squad for Wales:
Forwards: J Poux (Toulouse), N Mas (Perpignan), V Debaty (Clermont), D Attoub (Stade Francais), D Szarzewski (Stade Francais), W Servat (Toulouse), P Pape (Stade Francais), Y Maestri (Toulouse), J Pierre (Clermont), T Dusautoir (Toulouse, captain), F Ouedraogo (Montpellier), J Bonnaire (Clermont), I Harinordoquy (Biarritz), L Picamoles (Toulouse).
Backs: M Parra (Clermont), D Yachvili (Biarritz), F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), L Beauxis (Toulouse), W Fofana (Clermont), A Rougerie (Clermont), F Fritz (Toulouse), A Palisson (Toulon), J Buttin (Clermont), C Poitrenaud (Toulouse)
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