Six Nations 2015: Bastareaud dropped as France ring changes

Toulon powerhouse starts on bench as Phillipe Saint-Andre makes five changes from side that lost to Ireland on 14 February

Mathieu Bastareaud has been dropped to the bench for France’s RBS 6 Nations match against Wales in Paris on Saturday.

France head coach Philippe Saint-Andre has made five changes to his starting XV from the side that lost 18-11 to Ireland in Dublin on 14 February, with four of the changes coming in the back division.

Bastareaud is replaced by Castres’ Remi Lamerat at outside centre as Bordeaux-Begles’ winger Sofiane Guitoune replaced the injured Teddy Thomas on the left wing and Racing Metro’s Brice Dulin returns at full-back in place of Scott Spedding with his fellow South African Rory Kockott replaced at scrum-half by Clermont Auvergne’s Morgan Parra.

Despite France’s front-row replacements having a notable impact in the second half against the Irish in Dublin, the only change up front is enforced with Toulon lock Romain Taofifenua replacing Pascal Pape, who was banned for 10-weeks after kneeing Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip in the back during that defeat in Dublin.

France go into the match looking to ignite another disappointing Six Nations campaign, which saw them scrape a win at the Stade de France against Scotland before going down to Ireland.

Like their hosts, Wales have also won one and lost one as they bounced back from an opening-round defeat to England with a 26-23 win over Scotland at BT Murrayfield.

Their last visit to the French capital saw George North finish off a superb move late in the game for a 16-6 win and they comprehensively demolished Les Bleus 27-6 in a Friday night game in Cardiff 12 months ago.

France: Brice Dulin (Racing Metro); Yohann Huget (Toulouse), Remi Lamerat (Castres), Wesley Fofana (Clermont Auvergne), Sofiane Guitoune (Bordeaux-Begles); Camille Lopez (Clermont Auvergne), Morgan Parra (Clermont Auvergne); Eddy Ben Arous (Racing Metro), Guilhem Guirado (Toulon), Rabbah Slimani (Stade Français), Romain Taofifenua (Toulon), Yohann Maestri (Toulouse), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse, captain), Bernard Le Roux (Racing Metro), Damien Chouly (Clermont Auvergne).

Replacements: Benjamin Kayser (Clermont Auvergne), Uini Atonio (La Rochelle), Vincent Debaty (Clermont Auvergne), Jocelino Suta (Toulon), Loann Goujon (La Rochelle), Sebastien Tillous-Borde (Toulon), Remi Tales (Castres), Mathieu Bastareaud (Toulon).

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon); George North (Northampton Saints), Jonathan Davies (Clermont Auvergne), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), Liam Williams (Scarlets); Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Webb (Ospreys); Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Racing Metro), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, captain), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: Richard Hibbard (Gloucester Rugby), Paul James (Bath Rugby), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Wasps), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys); Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets).

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