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Tuesday 21 August 2018

Saint-André calls for no half-measures

FRANCE v ENGLAND TOMORROW RTé2/BBC1

With France needing to beat England to have a realistic chance of pipping Wales to the Six Nations title, coach Philippe Saint-André has made a potentially risky move by shaking up his team for the first time since taking charge after the World Cup.

France's lacklustre display in last weekend's 17-17 draw against Ireland was enough to convince him something needed to be done.

He dropped experienced halves Morgan Parra and Francois Trinh-Duc, even though they have played together for the best part of four years, replacing them with scrum-half Julien Dupuy and fly-half Lionel Beauxis -- who have played only nine minutes together at international level.

"I'll have to put in a good performance," Beauxis said. "I know I have a big hand to play, I want to remain a starter. But that is more difficult."



territorial

It is a brave move by Saint-André, who felt he needed the long kicking of Beauxis to push the English back and stop Stuart Lancaster's team gaining a territorial hold on the game.

Trinh-Duc, for all his flair, kicked poorly against Ireland, putting his team in trouble rather than clearing danger. Beauxis, an unspectacular No10, will also take the penalty kicks, with Dupuy as his back-up.

Although they have appeared only twice together as late substitutes for France, Beauxis and Dupuy were team-mates at Stade Francais for two years.

England are in a rebuilding phase after a bitterly disappointing World Cup campaign, marked by numerous off-field incidents, and scraped wins in Scotland and Italy before losing at home to Wales.

Lancaster has kept faith with the same team that lost 19-12 to the Welsh. Toby Flood, fly-half during last year's successful Six Nations campaign, was released back to Leicester earlier this week and despite Charlie Hodgson proving his fitness, Owen Farrell retains the No10 shirt.

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