PARIS (Reuters) - Guy Noves has largely kept faith with the France team that were edged out by England for their Six Nations showdown against Scotland at the Stade de France on Sunday, as the coach made just one change to his starting side.
Loann Goujon was named at blindside flanker by Noves on Friday, with Clermont forward Damien Chouly dropping to the bench as the sole casualty of Saturday’s 19-16 defeat at Twickenham.
”We wanted to enhance the pack,“ Noves told reporters on Friday. ”The two players (Goujon and Chouly) are close to each other and we even had the discussion (about who will play) before England.
”(The change) is to give a chance to as many players as possible in the group,“ he added. ”Loann deserves to participate in this competition and see where he’s up to.
“It’s also a little bit of a strategic decision -- even a big (strategic decision) -- and is linked to the boy’s form.”
Noves has also made two changes among his replacements, with Chouly’s club team mate Arthur Iturria replaced by Brive second rower Julian Le Devedec and hooker Christopher Tolofua included instead of Clement Maynadier.
France will wear shirts emblazoned with a #France2023 logo for the encounter after officially launching their bid to host the 10th edition of the Rugby World Cup on Thursday.
Scotland, who opened their campaign with a gritty 27-22 victory over Ireland at Murrayfield, will name their side later on Friday.
“Scotland had one or two relatively difficult years at the beginning, but today they’re harvesting the fruit that (coach) Vern (Cotter) sowed a while ago,” Noves added.
“This is a team built on aggressiveness, speed and physical engagement,” he added. “They’re not the Scotland team of a few years ago.”
France: 15 Scott Spedding; 14 Noa Nakaitaci, 13 Remi Lamerat, 12 Gaël Fickou, 11 Virimi Vakatawa; 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Baptiste Serin; 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Loann Goujon, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Cyril Baille.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Rabah Slimani, 18 Xavier Chiocci, 19 Julian Le Devedec, 20 Damien Chouly, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Jean-Marc Doussain, 23 Yoann Huget
Reporting by Ed Dove; Editing by John O'Brien and Toby Davis