France v Japan, Rugby World Cup, September 10
France roll out the big guns
ESPNscrum Staff
September 5, 2011
France coach Marc Lievremont faces the press, Dublin, Ireland, August 19, 2011
France head coach Marc Lievremont has named a strong side for his side's World Cup opener © Getty Images

Marc Lievremont is clearly not underestimating the threat posed by Japan as the France head coach has named a strong line-up for their Rugby World Cup meeting in Auckland on Sunday.

The side shows nine changes in total to the one which defeated Ireland their final warm-up game just over a fortnight ago. Behind the scrum, Francois Trinh-Duc returns at the expense of David Skrela, as expected, while Dimitri Yachvili has been preferred to Morgan Parra at No.9. In the only other alteration to the back-line which started in Dublin, winger Vincent Clerc takes the place of Alexis Palisson in the back three.

In the pack, loose-head prop Fabien Barcella and hooker William Servat are recalled to the front-row, despite concerns over the former's match fitness. Julien Pierre gets the nod ahead of Pascal Pape as Lionel Nallet's partner in the second-row, while there is a start in the back-row for Raphael Lakafia, who only made his debut at the Aviva Stadium. The 22-year-old Biarritz No.8 will be flanked by captain Thierry Dusautoir and veteran openside Imanol Harinordoquy.

France: Cedric Heymans; Vincent Clerc, Aurelien Rougerie, Fabrice Estebanez, Maxime Medard; Francois Trinh-Duc, Dimitri Yachvili; Fabien Barcella, William Servat, Nicolas Mas; Julien Pierre, Lionel Nallet; Thierry Dusautoir (capt), Imanol Harinordoquy, Raphael Lakafia.

Replacements: Dimitri Szarzewski, Jean-Baptiste Poux, Pascal Pape, Julien Bonnaire, Morgan Parra, David Skrela, David Marty.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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