With Guy Novès having been shown the door, new France coach Jacques Brunel has rung the changes for the Six Nations that starts on 3 February. Sam Tremlett reports

France Six Nations Squad 2018

Jacques Brunel has made three changes to the France starting XV for their Six Nations match against Scotland on Sunday.

Lionel Beauxis, who was not in the original squad, comes straight in at fly-half for the injured Matthieu Jalibert while Marco Tauleigne replaces Kevin Gourdon, who hurt his ankle against Ireland, at No 8 and Geoffrey Doumayrou starts at inside-centre.

There is also room on the bench for Louis Picamoles, who was a surprise ommission from Brunel’s original Six Nations squad.

UPDATED: France Team to play Ireland in Six Nations – Sunday 11 February

Palis;  Thomas, Lamerat, Doumayrou, Vakatawa; Beauxis, Machenaud; Poirot, Guirado (captain), Slimani, Iturria, Vahaamahina, Lauret, Camara, Tauleigne.
Replacements: Pélissié, Ben Arous, Gomes Sa, Gabrillagues, Picamoles, Serin, Belleau, Fall.

Related: France 13-15 Ireland match report

France Team to play Ireland in Six Nations – Saturday 3 February

Palis; Thomas, Lamerat, Chavancy, Vakatawa; Jalibert, Machenaud; Poirot, Guirado (capt), Slimani, Iturria, Vahaamahina, Lauret, Gourdon.

Replacements: Pelissie, Priso, Gomes Sa, Gabrillagues, Tauleigne, Dupont, Belleau, Fall.

France will be looking to continue from their positive performance at the end of last season’s championship –  check out the France Six Nations Fixtures.

Related: Six Nations TV Coverage

New head coach Brunel has stamped his mark on France’s 32-man squad for the Six Nations , with three aspects standing out.

First, the selection of uncapped 19-year-old Bordeaux fly-half Matthieu Jalibert is bold, especially if he gets any game time. Talk about throwing a guy in at the deep end, as les Bleus‘ first game of the 2018 tournament is against Ireland.

Second, the omission of Louis Picamoles and François Trinh-Duc from the squad is another bold move. Picamoles may not have been playing his best rugby this year but he remains one of the game’s most powerful athletes and offers go-forward ball at the back of the scrum.

Trinh-Duc has been excluded because he has suffered a significant downturn in form. Both players have considerable Six Nations experience so questions could be raised about why the two men haven’t made it.

Baptiste Serin was another surprise omission, particularly as he plays for Bordeaux, where Brunel coached until recently. However, he has been given a reprieve following a knee injury to Clermont’s Morgan Parra, whose long wait for a 69th cap – he hasn’t played for France since the 2015 World Cup – will now be extended.

Shock call: the omission of Louis Picamoles, an immense ball-carrier, is an outlandish decision (Getty)

Finally, Matthieu Bastareaud has been included despite recent controversy. The Toulon centre was handed a three-week ban for homophobic language used against flanker Seb Negri during the French side’s clash with Benetton Treviso.

There are six uncapped players in the squad: Jalibert, Dany Priso (La Rochelle), Felix Lambey (Lyon), Cedate Gomes Sa (Racing 92), Geoffrey Palis (Castres) and Marco Tauleigne (Bordeaux).

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It also appears as if Brunel is putting a considerable amount of faith in youth because, out of the 32 squad members, as many as 17 players are below the age of 25.

In a further change to the original squad, Toulon’s Hugo Bonneval has replaced Racing full-back Brice Dulin, who incurred a calf injury in Sunday’s Champions Cup win at Leicester.

France Six Nations Squad 2018

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