Six Nations 2014: France recall Louis Picamoles for Ireland decider
Six Nations 2014: Philippe Saint-Andre recalls Louis Picamoles for France's championship showdown against Ireland
Philippe Saint-Andre has recalled Louis Picamoles as one of four changes for the Six Nations championship showdown with Ireland in Paris on Saturday evening.
The Toulouse number eight—who was axed by the France head coach for a lack of respect for the officials in their defeat to Wales—starts on the blindside in place of Sebastien Vahaamahina.
Another change in the pack sees Stade Francais hooker Dimitri Szarzewski return after he missed the Scotland win with injury as Saint-Andre looks to bolster his set-piece after a dismal performance at Murrayfield.
After starting in France’s first four matches of the championship, the guillotine has finally dropped on outside-half Jules Plisson, who is left out of the match-day squad with Castre’s Remi Tales starting alongside Racing Metro’s Maxime Machenaud in the half-backs.
Toulouse’s marauding 19-year-old centre Gaël Fickou makes his first start of the tournament, despite his late match-winning try against England in the opening match, as Maxime Mermoz drops to the bench.
Points difference in the championship mean Saint-Andre’s side still have a slim chance of winning their first championship since the 2010 Grand Slam success, but need to defeat Ireland and hope England lose to Italy.
Ireland go into the match on the back of an eight-try masterclass over Italy in Dublin and remain favourites to win in what will be Brian O’Driscoll’s final international despite just one win against France in Paris in 42 years.
Ireland name their squad on Thursday afternoon.
France: Brice Dulin (Castres); Yoann Huget (Toulouse), Mathieu Bastareaud (Toulon), Gaël Fickou (Toulouse), Maxime Medard (Toulouse); Remi Tales (Castres), Maxime Machenaud (Racing Metro); Thomas Domingo (Clermont Auvergne), Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Français), Nicolas Mas (Montpellier), Pascal Pape (Stade Français, captain), Yoann Maestri (Toulouse), Louis Picamoles (Toulouse), Alexandre Lapandry (Clermont Auvergne), Damien Chouly (Clermont).
Replacements: Guilhem Guirado (Perpignan), Vincent Debaty (Clermont), Rabah Slimani (Stade Français), Alexandre Flanquart (Stade Français), Sebastien Vahaamahina (Perpignan), Wenceslas Lauret (Racing Metro), Jean-Marc Doussain (Toulouse), Maxime Mermoz (Toulon).