9 Mar 2011

3 changes to French rugby team

5:59 am on 9 March 2011

The France rugby coach Marc Lievremont has made three changes to his team for this weekend's Six Nations championship match against Italy but has decided to keep faith with number eight Sebastien Chabal.

Chabal, who gave a dismal performance in the 17-9 defeat to England last month, has retained his place in the starting lineup with Julien Bonnaire returning to the side in place of Imanol Harinordoquy on the side of the scrum.

Maxime Medard returns at fullback in place of Clement Poitrenaud after missing the Twickenham clash through injury while prop Sylvain Marconnet had been preferred to Thomas Domingo.

Lievremont has also kept faith with scrumhalf Dimitri Yachvili, leaving Morgan Parra on the bench. The French coach has also been experimenting with Vincent Clerc, who usually plays on the wing, in the number nine position.

France, who completed a grand slam to win last year's championship, are third in the Six Nations standings, level on points with second-placed Wales and fourth-placed Ireland.