x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

France makes two changes for Wales match

Marc Lievremont is forced to make two changes with the injured duo of Vincent Clerc and Julien Bonnaire replaced by Benjamin Fall and Fulgence Ouedraogo.

Vincent Clerc, left, and teammate Clement Poitrenaud. Clerc failed to prove his fitness today ahead of Friday's clash with Wales.
Vincent Clerc, left, and teammate Clement Poitrenaud. Clerc failed to prove his fitness today ahead of Friday's clash with Wales.

MARCOUSSIS // France coach Marc Lievremont has made two changes for Friday's Six Nations match against Wales, with the winger Benjamin Fall replacing Vincent Clerc and the flanker Julien Bonnaire coming in for Fulgence Ouedraogo. Both changes for the Cardiff encounter are because of injury, with the French picking up several knocks in an impressive 33-10 win over Ireland in their second championship match.

Ouedraogo has a calf tear and Clerc has a twisted ankle. Fall regains his place after starting in France's 18-9 win at Scotland. Lievremont gave Clerc this morning to prove his fitness because he accepted "there is not enough time between now and the match for him to be 100 per cent in Cardiff". France have never won three straight matches since Lievremont took over from Bernard Laporte following the 2007 World Cup, and a win in Cardiff would establish France as firm favourites for the Grand Slam ahead of matches against Italy and England.

Wales lost their opening match 30-17 to England at Twickenham after rallying from 20-3 down to lead 20-17 into the latter stages of the match. "They could have beaten England at Twickenham and they finished the match brilliantly against Scotland," Lievremont said. "I imagine they will be very motivated to play against us and that it will be very hard." Against Scotland, Wales scored 17 points in the last five minutes to win 31-24.

"You know they always have that potential, but for the moment they haven't managed to string together 80 minutes of very good rugby," Lievremont said. Team: Clement Poitrenaud, Benjamin Fall, Mathieu Bastareaud, Yannick Jauzion, Alexis Palisson, Francois Trinh-Duc, Morgan Parra; Thomas Domingo, William Servat, Nicolas Mas, Lionel Nallet, Pascal Pape, Thierry Dusautoir, Julien Bonnaire, Imanol Harinordoquy. Replacements: Jean-Baptiste Poux, Dimitri Szarzewski, Julien Pierre, Alexandre Lapandry, Frederic Michalak, David Marty, Julien Malzieu. * AP