Jean-Baptiste Elissalde has been named as France’s new first-choice scrum-half, in Bernard Laporte’s team to face Ireland in this weekend’s RBS 6 Nations opener.
Elissalde has claimed the number nine berth following the retirement of Fabien Galthie in a line-up which features two debutants in William Servat and Pascal Pape.
Servat takes the hooker’s role from Raphael Ibanez who, like Galthie, quit after the World Cup – while Pape gets the call on Saturday because of problems in the second row with Jerome Thion – ruled out of the entire tournament with injury problems.
Laporte said: “No one has really staked a claim for the scrum-half role after Fabien Galthie.
“Jean-Baptiste now has his chance at international level, as Dmitri Yachvili has had before.”
France team, to play Ireland on Saturday in Paris: N Brusque (Biarritz); V Clerc (Toulouse), Y Jauzion (Toulouse), D Traille (Pau), C Dominici (Stade Francais); F Michalak (Toulouse), J-B Elissalde (Toulouse); S Marconnet (Stade Francais), W Servat (Toulouse), P De Villiers (Stade Francais), F Pelous (Toulouse), P Pape (Bourgoin), S Betsen (Biarritz), O Magne (Montferrand), I Harinordoquy (Pau). Replacements: Y Bru (Toulouse), J-J Crenca (Agen), D Auradou (Stade Francais), T Lievremont (Biarritz), D Yachvili (Biarritz), B Liebenberg (Stade Francais), P Elhorga (Agen).