Poirot called upon to help solve France problems


Jefferson Poirot will make his first start for France against Ireland on Saturday, as one of six changes to the team that squeezed past Italy on the opening weekend of the Six Nations.

Bordeaux-Begles prop Poirot featured as a replacement against Italy, but will form part of a new-look front row this weekend - with Uini Atonio also brought in as Rabah Slimani and Eddy Ben Arous drop to the bench.

There are two other personnel changes in the France pack: Yacouba Camara comes into the back row in place of the injured Louis Picamoles, with Damien Chouly moving to number eight, and Alexandre Flanquart is preferred to Paul Jedrasiak at lock.

Gael Fickou drops out of the squad altogether due to personal reasons, Maxime Mermoz taking his spot at outside centre, while Teddy Thomas starts on the wing ahead of Hugo Bonneval.

France were below their best against Italy, but prevailed 23-21 thanks to a late penalty from Jules Plisson.


France team to face Ireland: Maxime Medard, Teddy Thomas, Maxime Mermoz, Jonathan Danty, Virimi Vakatawa, Jules Plisson, Sebastien Bezy; Jefferson Poirot, Guilhem Guirado (captain), Uini Atonio, Alexandre Flanquart, Yoann Maestri, Wenceslas Lauret, Yacouba Camara, Damien Chouly.

Replacements: Camille Chat, Rabah Slimani, Eddy Ben Arous, Paul Jedrasiak, Loann Stud, Maxime Machenaud, Jean-Marc Doussain, Hugo Bonneval.