Fresh blood for France

France have named three uncapped players in their starting XV for Sunday's RBS 6 Nations clash with Italy in Paris. [more]

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France have named three uncapped players in their starting XV for Sunday’s RBS 6 Nations clash with Italy in Paris.

Prop Fabien Barcella, flanker Ibrahim Diarra and centre Yann David have all been handed call-ups, with head coach Marc Lievremont making a raft of changes following Les Bleus’ 24-13 defeat to England a week and a half ago.

Veteran lock Jerome Thion is selected even though he has been suffering with a buttock strain this week, while young Montpellier flanker Fulgence Ouedraogo returns to the back row, with Julien Bonnaire dropping to the bench.

Behind the scrum, Lievremont has gone with an all-Clermont-Auvergne back three by uniting recalled duo Anthony Floch and Julien Malzieu – who have two caps between them – with winger Aurelien Rougerie.

David, 19, will be partnered by returning Toulouse star Yannick Jauzion in midfield.

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Dimitri Yachvili, the only recognised kicker in the starting XV, is back at scrum-half and will combine with Francois Trinh-Duc at half-back.

Two other uncapped players, hooker Guillem Guirado and scrum-half Julien Tomas, will start on the bench on Sunday.

"We are making a turnover, but keeping the balance in the team," said Lievremont, whose hopes of a Six Nations grand slam in his first season in charge of Les Bleus were dashed by the defeat to England.

"We want to win against Italy, but win in a good manner at the same time."

France won their opening two games of the tournament, against Scotland and Ireland, and still have a chance of retaining the title they have won for the last two years.

France team to play Italy in the RBS 6 Nations at the Stade de France, Paris, on Sunday:

A Floch; A Rougerie (both Clermont-Auvergne), Y Jauzion (Toulouse), Y David (Bourgoin), J Malzieu (Clermont-Auvergne); F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), D Yachvili (Biarritz); F Barcella (Auch), D Szarzewski (Stade Francais), N Mas (Perpignan), L Nallet (Castres, capt), J Thion (Biarritz), F Ouedraogo (Montpellier), I Diarra (Montauban), L Picamoles (Montpellier).

Replacements: G Guirado (Perpignan), J-B Poux (Toulouse), A Mela (Albi), J Bonnaire (Clermont-Auvergne), J Tomas (Montpellier), D Traille (Biarritz), V Clerc (Toulouse).

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