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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 February 2008, 09:05 GMT
Clerc returns amid France changes
David Skrela runs with the ball for France against Scotland
David Skrela will start at stand-off in place of Trinh-Duc
France coach Marc Lievremont has been forced to make a change to his starting side against Ireland after wing Julien Malzieu withrew with a thigh injury.

Vincent Clerc, dropped to the bench as one of six changes originally, returns to the line-up on the left wing.

Aurelien Rougerie comes in on the right wing while David Skrela takes over from Francois Trinh-Duc at fly-half.

Hooker Dimitri Szarzewski, prop Nicolas Mas, lock Arnaud Mela and number eight Julien Bonnaire all come into the pack.

Mas takes over from Julien Brugnaut at tight-head and Mela replaces Loic Jacquet. Brugnaut and Jacquet are both on the bench.

These changes are clearly not meant as a sanction

France coach Marc Lievremont
Bonnaire starts in place of Elvis Vermeulen, who drops out of the 22 altogether, with Montpellier's uncapped Louis Picamoles, 21, coming onto the bench.

Full-back Anthony Floch take Clerc's place among the replacements.

Jean-Baptiste Elissalde is included at scrum-half having shaken off an ankle injury picked up in the 27-6 win at Murrayfield.

Despite the impressive nature of that victory, Lievremont said the changes to the side "reward the state of spirit among the replacements before and during the Scotland match".

"These changes are clearly not meant as a sanction," he added. "It is a logical choice to see everyone in the heat of battle, but still with a desire to keep the equilibrium.

"There is an enormous gap between our satisfaction with the spirit we showed, our courage, the desire to play and our solidarity, and next to that - if we want to be objective - the enormous failure in the construction of our play, our attitude at the breakdown to get quicker ball, some concerns in the scrum, a very vague kicking game and badly-used ball," he said.

"That leaves us little opportunity to get over-excited. On the whole, we are delighted but there remains a lot of work to do."

France team to face Ireland:
C Heymans (Toulouse); A Rougerie (Clermont-Auvergne), D Marty (Perpignan), D Traille (Biarritz), V Clerc (Toulouse); D Skrela (Stade Francais), J-B Elissalde (Toulouse); N Mas (Perpignan), D Szarzewski (Stade Francais), L Faure (Sale), A Mela (Albi), L Nallet (Castres), F Ouedraogo (Montpellier), T Dusautoir (Toulouse), J Bonnaire (Clermont-Auvergne).
Replacements: W Servat (Toulouse), J Brugnaut (Dax), L Jacquet (Clermont-Auvergne), L Picamoles (Montpellier), M Parra (Bourgoin), F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), A Floch (Clermont-Auvergne).

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