Bastereaud boosts France for Wales in Six Nations

France have named their Six Nations team to face Wales in Cardiff on Friday with Mathieu Bastereaud in the starting line up.

Bastereaud has recovered from a shoulder injury and will line up at centre against George North.

In addition to Bastareaud, Racing Metro flanker Wenceslas Lauret has been named
to take over from Bernard Le Roux in the back row as the only change to the
side that defeated Italy 30-10 in Paris in the last round of games.

Le Roux was ruled out of the Wales game after being badly concussed in the
match against the Italians.

Lauret last played for France in the November Tests against world champions
New Zealand and South Africa, but sustained a groin muscle injury late last
year that sidelined him for several weeks.

He returned to action for his team in the Top-14 championship last Saturday
and impressed France coach Philippe Saint-Andre in the 18-8 win over Bayonne.

“He turned in a quality performance against Bayonne and he was a logical
choice for selection as he brings us balance to the back row,” Saint-Andre

Elsewhere the French have gone for stability following their two opening wins
over England (26-24) and Italy, both chalked up in Paris.

Those wins opened up the possibility of a first French Six Nations Grand Slam
since 2010, just a year after they finished with the wooden spoon.

Saint-Andre notably gave another vote of confidence to the youthful half-back
pairing of Jean-Marc Doussain (23) and Jules Plisson (22), despite having more
experienced players at his disposal.

“We really want to persevere with this young pair of half-backs who are
learning things every day and who have the willingness, determination and backbone
that we need,” the coach said.

Saint-Andre also showed his faith in the rest of the backs division with contrasting
centres Wesley Fofana and Mathieu Bastereaud in harness for the third match
in a row and Hugo Bonneval winning his second cap on the wing.

On the replacements bench hooker Brice Mach is set to win his first cap for
France having been called into the squad to replace the injured Benjamin Kayser.

Saint-Andre also used the occasion to slam those Top-14 clubs who ignored his
pleas not to select their international players for last weekend’s games.

“The 15 starters for England were rested last weekend, 98 percent of the
Irish were rested. As for the Welsh – out of 32 players, 12 had to play, but
the other 20 were rested,” he said.

“For us, we made a little bit of progress I suppose, but we still had
only six players rested out of 30.”


Brice Dulin; Yoann Huget, Mathieu Bastereaud, Wesley Fofana, Hugo Bonneval; Jules Plisson, Jean-Marc Doussain; Thomas Domingo, Dimitri Szarzewski, Nicolas Mas, Pascal Pape (capt), Yoann Maestri, Yannick Nyanga, Wenceslas Lauret, Louis Picamoles.

Replacements: Brice Mach, Yannick Forestier, Vincent Debaty, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Damien Chouly, Maxime Machenaud, Remi Tales, Gael Fickou

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