France v Japan, Rugby World Cup, September 10
Yachvili gets the nod over Parra
ESPNscrum Staff
September 8, 2011
France's Nicolas Mas pictured during a training session, Marcoussis, south of Paris, France, November 10, 2008
Nicolas Mas will look to anchor the front-row for France © Getty Images

Marc Lievremont has left nothing to chance against John Kirwan's Japan with a strong team set to line-up against the Brave Blossoms.

Toulouse's Cedric Heymans takes the fullback reins with the prolific duo of Maxime Medard and Vincent Clerc hoping to impress from the wings. Aurelien Rougerie takes the outside centre spot alongside Fabrice Estebanez. The halfbacks Francois Trinh-Duc and Dimitiri Yachvili will hope to profit from a formidable forward unit which is spearheaded at No.8 by World Cup bolter Raphael Lakafia.

Imanol Harinordoquy and Thierry Dusautoir line up alongside Lakafia with the hugely experienced Lionel Nallet partnered by Julien Pierre in the second-row. The traditionally strong French front-row is typically imposing with Fabien Barcella, William Servat and Nicolas Mas taking the reins.

Stade Francais hooker Dimitri Szarzewski will have to be content with a spot on the bench while Jean-Baptiste Poux will provide cover for the front-row. Morgan Parra will look to make an impact and is joined in the replacements by David Skrela and David Marty.

For Japan, There are just two survivors from the back-line which faced the United States in Tokyo last month, with Ryan Nicholas retaining his place at inside centre and Hirotoki holding on to the No.11 jersey. Shaun Webb returns at fullback, Koji Taira joins Nicholas in midfield, while Kosuke Endo is recalled on the right wing. Meanwhile, James Arlidge is paired with Fumiaki Tanaka in the half-backs.

It's a similar story in the pack, with Kirwan only retaining two players who started against the Americans: Luke Thompson, who has been paired with Toshizumi Kitagawa in the second-row, and captain Takashi Kikutani, who switches from No.8 to blindside flanker to accommodate Ryukoliniasi Holani. Elsewhere, Hisateru Hirashima, Shota Horie, Kensuke Hatakeyama form a new front-row, while Michael Leitch gets the nod on the openside.

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

Japan: Shaun Webb; Kosuke Endo, Koji Taira, Ryan Nicholas, Hirotoki Onozawa; James Arlidge, Fumiaki Tanaka; Hisateru Hirashima, Shota Horie, Kensuke Hatakeyama; Luke Thompson, Toshizumi Kitagawa; Takashi Kikutani (capt), Michael Leitch, Ryukoliniasi Holani

Replacements: Yusuke Aoki, Nozomu Fujita, Hitoshi Ono, Itaru Taniguchi, Atsushi Hiwasa, Murray Williams, Alisi Tupuailai

Referee: Steve Walsh (ARU)

Assistant referees: A Rolland, S Terheege

Television Match Official: G De Santis

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