Lievremont changes four for Scotland
February 10, 2009
Cedric Heymans returns on the France wing © Getty Images
France boss Marc Lievremont has made four changes to the side that lost their opening game of the Six Nations against Ireland on Saturday for the visit of Scotland this weekend.
Lievremont's men went down 30-21 to an impressive Ireland side at Croke Park, but showed flashes of their talented best in tries from Imanol Harinordoquy and Maxime Medard.
Despite their impressive showing Lievremont has elected to make four personnel changes for Saturday's game at the Stade de France.
The main casualties are in the pack, with Fabien Barcella, Nicolas Mas and Romain Millo-Chluski replacing Lionel Faure, Benoit Lecouls and Sebastien Chabal. There is only one change in the backs, with Cedric Heymans replacing Julien Malzieu and joining his Toulouse team-mates Clement Poitrenaud in the back-three.
"If there was a failing (against Ireland), it was a collective one," Lievremont said. "Even some exemplary players, like Dimitri Szarzewski and Thierry Dusautoir, lost more one-on-ones than normal. Our ball-carriers also had a bad time. We lacked intensity and durability overall.
"For the first time in a year, we have been deficient up front. People have spoken a lot about our style of play but having fight is the premier element in this sport. We have obviously talked about this between ourselves."
Centre Florian Fritz was originally included in the side but copped a three-week ban for striking from a Six nations disciplinary committee, meaning that Benoit Baby steps into the centres. Perpignan's Maxime Mermoz takes a seat on the bench.
Prop Lecouls suffered a recurrence of a neck injury and withdrew on Sunday, with his replacement Renaud Boyoud of Dax slotting in on the bench. Lionel Nallet retains his spot in the second-row and continues to lead the side despite struggling for form.
"At no time have we envisaged changing our captain," Lievremont said. "He is our captain. In no way is it a handicap to start him. We are very happy with his performance [against Ireland].
"Sebastien Chabal has not been punished like certain people would think. We have simply decided to make a bit of a turnover. As was the case in November, the changes come especially up front. They (the three locks) all have different profiles and each bring a lot to the team.
"We know the explosive qualities Sebastien can bring. Romain Millo-Chluski brings a bit more consistency in the rucks and the close game. But this is not a reaction after a defeat."
Brothers Thom and Max Evans start for Scotland together for the first time, with Max taking over the outside-centre jersey from Ben Cairns and Thom starting on the wing in place of Sean Lamont. Hadden's decision to leave both brothers out of the starting line-up against Wales was heavily criticised, with the criticism intensifying after Max scored Scotland's only try against the Welsh from the bench. They will become the 20th set of brothers to start together for Scotland.
Ulster's Simon Danielli starts on the opposite wing in place of Simon Webster, who has been ruled out by the concussion he sustained against Wales.
Mike Blair has recovered from a dea leg to lead the side from scrum-half, with Phil Godman continuing at fly-half and Graeme Morrison at inside-centre. Edinburgh's Hugo Southwell completes the back-line at fullback.
Up front, Alasdair Dickinson replaces the injured Geoff Cross for his first Six Nations start while his Gloucester team-mate Alasdair Strokosch replaces Allister Hogg on the blindside flank. Glasgow prop Moray Low wins a place in the Scotland 22 for the first time.
Sale flanker Jason White continues to fill in in the second-row following the news that lock Nathan Hines will undergo exploratory surgery on his knee injury and be out for between two and five weeks.
"We all know that the supporters demand and deserve better than the performance against Wales and they are determined to do that against France," said Hadden. "I'm happy with the quality of the side who are very aware of the need to perform better given the tough challenge that's facing us on Saturday."
France: Clement Poitrenaud; Maxime Medard (both Toulouse), Benoit Baby (Clermont Auvergne), Yannick Jauzion, Cedric Heymans (both Toulouse); Lionel Beauxis (Stade Francais), Sebastien Tillous-Borde (Castres); Fabien Barcella (Biarritz), Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Francais), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Lionel Nallet (Castres), Romain Millo-Chluski (Toulouse), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse), Fulgence Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz).
Replacements: Renaud Boyoud (Dax), Benjamin Kayser (Leicester), Sebastien Chabal (Sale), Louis Picamoles (Montpellier), Morgan Parra (Bourgoin), Maxime Mermoz (Perpignan), Julien Malzieu (Clermont-Auvergne)
Scotland: H Southwell (Edinburgh); S Danielli (Ulster), M Evans (Glasgow), G Morrison (Glasgow), T Evans (Glasgow); P Godman (Edinburgh), M Blair (Edinburgh, capt); A Jacobsen (Edinburgh), R Ford (Edinburgh), A Dickinson (Gloucester), J White (Sale), J Hamilton (Edinburgh), A Strokosch (Gloucester), S Taylor (Stade Francais), J Barclay (Glasgow).
Replacements: D Hall (Glasgow), M Low (Glasgow), K Brown (Glasgow), S Gray (Northampton), C Cusiter (Perpignan), C Paterson (Edinburgh), N De Luca (Edinburgh)