France coach Marc Lievremont has sprung a major surprise ahead of his side’s RBS 6 Nations opener against Scotland in Paris by picking Damien Traille at full-back and leaving star centre Yannick Jauzion out of his matchday 22.
Lievremont’s position has come under scrutiny in the wake of three heavy defeats from the last five Tests, with Les Bleus’ last outing culminating in a crushing 59-16 defeat at the hands of Australia.
Traille played at fly-half in that loss to the Wallabies but he replaces Perpignan’s Jerome Porical in the number 15 shirt, although he does not have the happiest memories of playing there after being caught out by England’s Josh Lewsey during the 2007 World Cup semi-final loss to England.
There are five other changes as Maxime Mermoz is paired with Aurelien Rougerie in the centre in the absence of Jauzion, and Maxime Medard comes in at the expense of Alexis Palisson on the left wing.
Francois Trinh-Duc partners Morgan Parra at half-back while Sebastien Chabal and Fulgence Ouedraogo drop out of the back row as Julien Bonnaire and Imanol Harinordoquy come in.
Despite their poor recent run the defending Grand Slam champions have not lost to Scotland on home soil since 1999 and have won the last four meetings between the sides.
France team to play Scotland at the Stade de France on Saturday, February 5: D Traille (Biarritz); Y Huget (Bayonne), A Rougerie (Clermont Auvergne), M Mermoz (Perpignan), M Medard (Toulouse); F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), M Parra (Clermont Auvergne); T Domingo (Clermont Auvergne), W Servat (Toulouse), N Mas (Perpignan), J Pierre (Clermont Auvergne), L Nallet (Racing Metro), T Dusautoir (Toulouse, captain), J Bonnaire (Clermont Auvergne), I Harinordoquy (Biarritz).
Replacements: G Guirado (Perpignan), L Ducalcon (Castres), J Thion (Biarritz), S Chabal (Racing Metro), D Yachvili (Biarritz), D Skrela (Toulouse), C Poitrenaud (Toulouse).