France have named David Skrela at fly-half to face Italy in their opening Six Nations match in Rome on Saturday.
Ibanez has won 83 caps for France
The Stade Francais stand-off is back after a six-year break and is paired at half-back with Pierre Mignoni.
Julien Bonnaire has proved his fitness and starts at flanker, while Sale number eight Sebastien Chabal starts for the first time since November 2005.
Wasps hooker Raphael Ibanez captains in place of the injured Fabien Pelous, while Damien Traille is also injured.
We are going to defend our Six Nations title tooth and nail
France team manager Jo Maso
"We want to use the championship to find solutions to our weaknesses. We also want to give some players the opportunity to prove their worth," said team manager Jo Maso.
"Make no mistake, we selected this team to win in Rome. With six months to go before the World Cup, we want to prove that we can win it or are at least quality contenders behind the All Blacks, who are the hot favourites.
"We are going to defend our Six Nations title tooth and nail."
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Skrela will start his first international since he won his only cap in June 2001.
He replaces the injured first-choice fly-half Frederic Michalak, and his partnership with Mignoni represents the 28th different half-pack combination since Bernard Laporte became coach in 1999.
Traille, France's star centre who had been playing fly-half in place of Michalak, does not even make the bench after suffering a knock on club duty with Biarritz at the weekend.
"The main question at number 10 is the future of Frederic," said Laporte.
"We don't know if he will come back or not [for the Six Nations]. We gave four games in a row to Damien Traille. Now we want to test David Skrela."
Clermont-Auvergne's Mignoni, 29, gets the nod over regular Les Bleus scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili, while Bourgoin's Bonnaire is named in the starting XV despite concerns about an ankle injury he sustained on Saturday.
Lionel Beauxis, who competes with Skrela for the fly-half berth at Stade Francais, has been drafted into the squad and starts on the bench.
France: Clement Poitrenaud; Cedric Heymans, Florian Fritz, Yannick Jauzion, Christophe Dominici; David Skrela, Pierre Mignoni; Olivier Milloud, Raphael Ibanez (cap), Pieter de Villiers, Lionel Nallet, Jerome Thion, Serge Betsen, Julien Bonnaire, Sebastien Chabal.
Replacements: Dimitri Szarzewski, Sylvain Marconnet, Pascal Pape, Imanol Harinordoquy, Dimitri Yachvili, Lionel Beauxis, Vincent Clerc.