Lievremont brings in six rookies

New France coach Marc Lievremont named four new faces in his team to tackle Scotland in their Six Nations opener at Murrayfield on Sunday.

Francois Trinh-Duc, the Montpellier fly-half from Vietnamese stock, makes his first start, being preferred to the vastly-experienced David Skrela, with Clermont winger Julien Malzieu also making his debut.

The pack sees two new caps with props Lionel Faure, who plays at English side Sale, and Julien Brugnaut from the Dax club, lining up in the front row.

Meanwhile, four other players return to the starting line-up.

Toulouse duo, centre Florian Fritz and hooker William Servat, will start as will flankers Fulgence Ouedraogo of Montpellier and Clermont’s Elvis Vermeulen who missed the 2007 World Cup through injury.

Lievremont said he had no hesitation in handing the 21-year-old Trinh-Duc his international start despite the fly-half only making his senior club debut this season.

“We have talked a lot of about confidence and taking the initiative over the last few days and we’ve proved that today. I have a lot of confidence in these players,” said the coach.

“Trinh-Duc doesn’t have the experience but he has to make his start sometime and he has players like Jean-Baptiste Elissalde (31 caps) and Damien Traille with him and they have plenty of experience.”


France, the defending Six Nations champions, have opted for an inexperienced front row with 26-year-old Brugnaut and Faure, 30, getting the nod for the first time.

Servat, who has been preferred to Dimitri Szarzewski, hasn’t played an international since 2005 while Perpignan prop Nicolas Mas, called up on Tuesday to replace the injured Jean-Baptiste Poux, takes his place on the bench.

Malzieu, 24, was also a surprise call-up to the wing being chosen ahead of Clermont’s Aurelien Rougerie while Vincent Clerc will start on the opposite flank.

France will be skippered for the first time by Lionel Nallet whose fellow lock forward will be Clermont’s Loic Jacquet who will be making his third international appearance.

In the centres, Fritz, who missed the World Cup, is recalled with Damien Traille at his side.

France team to play Scotland in the Six Nations Championship at Murrayfield on Sunday:

Cedric Heymans; Vincent Clerc, Florian Fritz, Damien Traille, Julien Malzieu, Francois Trinh-Duc, Jean-Baptiste Elissalde; Thierry Dusautoir, Elvis Vermeulen, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Lionel Nallet (capt), Loic Jacquet, Julien Brugnaut, William Servat, Lionel Faure Replacements: Nicolas Mas, Dimitri Szarzewski, Arnaud Mela, Julien Bonnaire, Morgan Parra, David Skrela, Aurelien Rougerie


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