Italy v France, Six Nations, Stadio Flaminio, March 12
Harinordoquy benched by France
March 8, 2011
Biarritz back-row Imanol Harinordoquy has been dropped to the bench for this weekend's clash with Italy © Getty Images
France head coach Marc Lievremont has made three changes to the side beaten by England for this weekend's Six Nations clash with Italy in Rome.
Two of the changes occur in the pack, with Sylvain Marconnet taking over from Thomas Domingo at loose-head prop and Julien Bonnaire getting the nod at openside flanker ahead of Imanol Harinordoquy, who drops to the bench.
Despite widespread speculation that he would be dropped, Sebastien Chabal has held on to the No.8 jersey and will line out in the French back row alongside Bonnaire and Thierry Dusautoir, who will again skipper the side. Lievremont defended the retention of Chabal by arguing that the criticism the Racing Metro player had received on the back of his performance against England was unwarranted.
Les Bleus' boss told Sky Sports, "I want to give him playing time. I watched the (England) game again and his display didn't seem catastrophic to me. Imanol will start against Wales."
The one change in personnel to the back-line which lined out at Twickenham sees Maxime Medard replace Clement Poitrenaud at fullback. That means that Dimitri Yachvili has again been preferred to Morgan Parra at scrum-half, with Lievremont admitting that there is very little to choose between the two men.
"Dimitri was a substitute in the last two November Tests and in the first two Six Nations games," he said. "He started against England and even though he made a few mistakes, like others, I still trust him. To me, they (Parra and Yachvili) lie equal and Morgan will certainly come off the bench during the game."
France: M Medard (Toulouse); Y Huget (Bayonne), A Rougerie (Clermont Auvergne), Y Jauzion (Toulouse), Vincent Clerc (Toulouse); F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), D Yachvili (Biarritz); S Marconnet (Stade Francais), W Servat (Toulouse), N Mas (Toulouse); J Pierre (Clermont Auvergne), L Nallet (Racing Metro); T Dusautoir (Toulouse, capt), J Bonnaire (Bourgoin), S Chabal (Racing Metro).
Replacements: G Guirado (Perpignan), L Ducalcon (Castres), J Thion (Biarritz), I Harinordoquy (Biarritz), M Parra (Clermont Auvergne), D Traille (Biarritz), C Poitrenaud (Toulouse).
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