Ireland v France, Six Nations Championship, February 7
Tillous-Borde gets the nod for France
February 3, 2009
France's scrum-half Sebastien Tillous-Borde clears the ball out of scrum, France v Australia, Stade de France, Paris, France, November 22, 2008
Tillous-Borde in action against the Wallabies last year © Getty Images

Sebastien Tillous-Borde will be Lionel Beauxis' half-back partner for France in their Six Nations opener against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

The Castres scrum-half gets the nod over Morgan Parra and will play for the first time alongside Beauxis for Les Bleus. Elsewhere, there are recalls in the back division for in-form Toulouse team-mates Florian Fritz and Clement Poitrenaud, at centre and fullback respectively.

Poitrenaud's inclusion means Maxime Medard moves to the wing where he displaces another Toulouse player, Cedric Heymans, who is on the bench. In the forwards, Imanol Harinordoquy has been named at number eight at the expense of Louis Picamoles, while Sale's Sebastien Chabal retains his spot at lock where he will partner captain Lionel Nallet.

Nicolas Mas is surprisingly left on the bench, with Benoit Lecouls preferred as prop.

Despite several untried combinations Lievremont maintained that France were fielding a strong side for the trip to Dublin.

"The strongest team is always the one you have at that time, because you have to work in the parameters of injuries," said Lievremont. "But there are no massive injuries at the moment and for the first time, we have been able to select the team that we wanted. And that is really satisfying. We can especially count on a very competitive bench in the course of the match."

Lievremont was also pleased to be able to call on Beauxis at fly-half, having been denied his services during the autumn internationals due to injury.

"It is an untried half-back pairing for us because it is the first time that we have been able to include Lionel Beauxis, who had to pull out of the November Tests," said Lievremont. "He is perhaps the great French number 10 for now and for tomorrow. Out of all the fly-halves we have, he is the only one who is a little Anglo-Saxon, with a great temperament and an excellent kicking game."

More free-flowing however is the returning Clement Poitrenaud, whose propensity for high- profile mistakes looked to have ended his hopes of a prolonged international career.

"He is a player in form that we want to see again at this level," said Lievremont. "He is more aggressive now and has been exemplary under the high ball - and there will be plenty of them in Dublin. We are delighted to have him back.

"We want to win by scoring tries. We want to attack and we are going to Croke Park looking for the win with a team that is sure of itself and what it is putting in place."

France team to face Ireland in the Six Nations at Croke Park on Saturday:

Clement Poitrenaud (Toulouse); Julien Malzieu (Clermont-Auvergne), Florian Fritz, Yannick Jauzion, Maxime Medard (all Toulouse); Lionel Beauxis (Stade Francais), Sebastien Tillous-Borde (Castres); Lionel Faure (Sale), Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Francais), Benoit Lecouls (Toulouse), Sebastien Chabal (Sale), Lionel Nallet (Castres, capt), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse), Fulgence Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz).

Replacements: Benjamin Kayser (Leicester), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Romain Millo-Chluski (Toulouse), Louis Picamoles (Montpellier), Morgan Parra (Bourgoin), Benoit Baby (Clermont-Auvergne), Cedric Heymans (Toulouse).


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