Six Nations: Morgan Parra replaces injured Dimitri Yachvili for France

Morgan Parra
Morgan Parra has been called into the French team

Morgan Parra has been called into the France team to play Ireland on Saturday after scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili failed to overcome a back problem.

"I don't feel 100% - I think it's more sensible to rest and get some treatment so that I'm ready for selection as soon as possible," said Yachvili.

Parra and fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc formed a successful pairing when France won the Grand Slam two years ago.

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has made four other changes to his team.

Lock Yoann Maestri will make his first start in place of Lionel Nallet, who drops to the bench, while Imanol Harinordoquy replaces Julien Bonnaire.

In the front row, Jean-Baptiste Poux and Dimitri Szarzewski take over from Vincent Debaty and William Servat.

The backline is unchanged from Saturday's 30-12 win over Italy.

Julien Dupuy has been called into the squad as back-up following Yachvili's withdrawal.

Saint-Andre has opted to strengthen his line-out by bringing in Harinordoquy and and 6ft 6in Maestri.

The World Cup runners-up also had problems in the scrum and rucks against Italy, so Poux and Szarzewski come into the starting line-up.

Maestri earned his first cap last weekend by replacing Nallet at Stade de France.

"He has improved a lot in his discipline and defence," Saint-Andre said of Maestri.

"When he came off the bench, he was flawless, he did what was expected from him.

"When the Italians wanted to carry the ball, he stopped them. He was also exceptionally clean at the breakdown.

"He has everything to be a great lock.

"He's an interesting option for the line-out. With him, [Pascal] Pape and Imanol, we have three quality jumpers."

Saint-Andre explained that he was not taking any risks with Yachvili's fitness.

"First and foremost, we thought about the player's well being,'' said the French coach.

"I'm obviously very sad for Dimitri, who always brings a lot to the France team with his experience, and I wish him a speedy recovery.''

World Cup finalists France beat Italy 30-12 last weekend in Saint-Andre's first game in charge.

Parra, who has 37 test caps and played in the World Cup final, albeit as a makeshift fly-half selected ahead of Trinh-Duc, is expected to take on kicking duties. He has kicked 51 penalties and one drop goal for France.

Dupuy, who has six caps, is also a reliable kicker.

France: M Medard; V Clerc, A Rougerie, W Fofana, J Malzieu; F Trinh-Duc, M Parra; JB Poux, D Szarzewski, N Mas; P Pape, Y Maestri; T Dusautoir, I Harinordoquy, L Picamoles.

Replacements: W Servat, V Debaty, L Nallet, J Bonnaire, M Parra, L Beauxis, M Mermoz.

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