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France lose Fritz to suspension

France centre Florian Fritz
Florian Fritz (centre) will miss the Scotland game through suspension

France centre Florian Fritz has been suspended for three weeks after punching an opponent in last week's defeat by Ireland.

Benoit Baby will replace Fritz for the Six Nations game against Scotland in Paris on Saturday, with Maxime Mermoz promoted to the bench.

Toulouse winger Cedric Heymans has been called up in place of Julien Malzieu.

Romain Millo-Chluski replaces Sebastien Chabal at lock and props Nicolas Mas and Fabien Barcella both come in.

Mas replaces the injured Benoit Lecouls and Barcella takes over from Lionel Faure.

Lecouls picked up a neck injury on Saturday, while Chabal (back) and flanker Imanol Harinordoquy (knee) also sustained knocks at Croke Park.

Fritz appeared before an independent three-man disciplinary committee on Wednesday in London and was cleared of making contact with the eye area of Irish flanker Stephen Ferris during France's 30-21 defeat.

But he was found guilty of a lesser charge of striking an opponent and the ban was imposed.

His suspension means he will miss the Scotland game and the visit of reigning Six Nations champions Wales on 27 February.

France have a superb home record against Scotland, having not lost to them since 1999.

We are capable of producing a game that everyone is waiting for but at the moment it isn't the game that wins matches

Thierry Dusautoir
France flanker
And flanker Thierry Dusautoir has called for patience as Les Bleus bid to bounce back from a thrilling Six Nations opener in Dublin.

"Our team is young and we must learn from this experience," said Dusautoir. "You have to give us time.

"I know it is idiotic to say that because we have been saying that for a year and a half.

"We are capable of producing a game that everyone is waiting for but at the moment it isn't the game that wins matches.

"We want it to become a winning style. We have to continue on this path, while not forgetting about the other phases of rugby, which are the essentials.

"It is a beautiful style, but we are not winning. We are still lacking something.

"But when we play too much, people have a go at us for playing too much and when we don't play enough, people also have a go at us for that too.

"We need to be left in peace so that we can work on what we need to do."

Lionel Nallet is once again named captain, even though the Castres lock is struggling for form at the moment.

"At no time have we envisaged changing our captain," Lievremont said.

"He is our captain. In no way is it a handicap to start him. We are very happy with his performance (against Ireland)."


France team to face Scotland (14 February, 1500 GMT):
Clement Poitrenaud (Toulouse); Maxime Medard (Toulouse), Benoit Baby (Clermont-Auvergne), Yannick Jauzion (Toulouse), Cedric Heymans (Toulouse); Lionel Beauxis (Stade Francais), Sebastien Tillous-Borde (Castres); Fabien Barcella (Biarritz), Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Francais), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Lionel Nallet (Castres), Romain Millo-Chluski (Toulouse), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse), Fulgence Ouedraogo (Montpelier), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz).
Replacements: Renaud Boyoud (Dax), Benjamin Kayser (Leicester), Sebastien Chabal (Sale), Louis Picamoles (Montpellier), Morgan Parra (Bourgoin), Maxime Mermoz (Perpignan), Julien Malzieu (Clermont Auvergne)

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see also
Scotland call for Evans brothers
11 Feb 09 |  Scottish
Ireland 30-21 France
07 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Ireland v France photos
07 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Ireland v France match stats
31 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 13-26 Wales
08 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations as it happened
07 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations guide 2009
28 Jan 09 |  Rugby Union


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