Marc Lievremont has handed the France No 8 shirt to Imanol Harinordoquy and left the Caveman Sebastien Chabal on the bench for their Six Nations opener against Scotland in Paris on Saturday (5pm GMT live on the BBC)
“Chabal is sick and injured and will be on the bench”, Lievremont said. Another casualty is Yannick Jauzion, who is replaced in the centre by Perpignan’s Maxime Mermoz.
Lievremont added: “To go without somebody like Yannick Jauzion, considering what he represents from a human and a sporting point of view, was not easy. But after a complicated year, Maxime Mermoz is in the form of his life. In my opinion, he forms a good attacking triangle with Francois Trinh-Duc and Aurelien Rougerie.”
Significantly Lievremont has ditched the massive boot of Damien Traille at outside-half, instead picking him at full-back.
“I have often considered putting him in full-back position. He is very good in defence and in the air. He is also good when he counter-attacks and he brings relief to the flyhalf,” said Lievremont. “Huget wasn’t perfect but he convinced me (in November). I wanted to throw him in at the deep end even if Vincent Clerc has come back to his best level,” Lievremont said.
15-Damien Traille, 14-Yoann Huget, 13-Aurelien Rougerie, 12-Maxime Mermoz, 11-Maxime Medard, 10-Francois Thrinh-Duc, 9-Morgan Parra, 8-Imanol Harinordoquy, 7-Julien Bonnaire, 6-Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5-Lionel Nallet, 4-Julien Pierre, 3-Nicolas Mas, 2-William Servat, 1-Thomas Domingo.
Substitutes: 16-Guilhem Guirado, 17-Luc Ducalcon, 18-Jerome Thion, 19-Sebastien Chabal, 20-Dimitri Yachvili, 21-David Skrela, 22-Clement Poitrenaud.