Six Nations: France make no changes to face Scotland

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre
France coach Philippe Saint-Andre wants his players to impose their game on the Scots at Murrayfield

RBS Six Nations: Scotland v France

Venue:
Murrayfield Stadium
Date:
Sunday, 26 February
Kick-off:
1500 GMT
Coverage:
Live on BBC Two, red button, BBC 5 live, Radio Scotland 810 MW and online; live text commentary & score updates on BBC Sport website

France will line up in the Six Nations against Scotland on Sunday with the team that should have played against Ireland before the game was postponed.

The match at the Stade de France on Saturday 11 February was called off 10 minutes before kick-off because parts of the pitch were frozen.

"Nobody played against Ireland," said France coach Philippe Saint-Andre, "so nobody had a bad game.

"Everyone had prepared properly, so there's a certain logic to that."

France defeated Italy 30-12 in their opening Six Nations match.

Scrum-half Morgan Parra starts ahead of veteran Dimitri Yachvili, who was not selected for the Ireland game because of a sore back.

Parra will be partnered by fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc and, with Yachvili rested, Parra will take kicking duties against Andy Robinson's Scotland team when they visit Edinburgh.

Although Scotland have lost 13-6 at home to England and 27-13 against Wales, Saint-Andre is nonetheless wary of the challenge the hosts will offer.

"Scotland can keep the ball for long periods of time," he said. "Sometimes their phases last longer than four minutes.

"This match will be a big test physically for us but also in terms of our strategy."

France's first game against the Italians was on 4 February and Saint-Andre's main concern is whether his players will be fit enough to last the whole game at Murrayfield.

"We had players who had cramps and no energy left in the last five minutes against Italy," he added.

"It will be an important test for us. We will try and keep hold of the ball and impose our style of play on Scotland."

Saint-Andre expects substitute flanker Julien Bonaire to come on in the second half to put pressure on Scotland as they tire.

Number eight Louis Picamoles is likely to play a key role in that respect, while the Scots may also look to expose centre Wesley Fofana's lack of experience.

Fofana made his test debut against Italy but will be supported in midfield by veteran Aurelien Rougerie.

Scrum-half Julien Dupuy is on the bench and also provides valuable back-up as kicker should Saint-Andre need to make a tactical change.

Stade Francais hooker Dimitri Szarzewski, troubled by a bruised knee, sat out Tuesday's training session but is expected to keep his place ahead of 34-year-old veteran William Servat.

Servat was a key player in France's World Cup campaign, but the 29-year-old Szarzewski has been in fine form this season and Saint-Andre is also counting on players that will still be in their prime at the 2015 World Cup.

TEAM NEWS

France: Maxime Medard, Vincent Clerc, Aurelien Rougerie, Wesley Fofana, Julien Malzieu, Francois Trinh-Duc, Morgan Parra; Louis Picamoles, Imanol Harinordoquy, Thierry Dusautoir (captain), Yoann Maestri, Pascal Pape, Nicolas Mas, Dimitri Szarzewski, Jean-Baptiste Poux.

Replacements: William Servat, Vincent Debaty, Lionel Nallet, Julien Bonnaire, Julien Dupuy, Lionel Beauxis, Maxime Mermoz.