Both Scotland and France have shuffled their line-up prior to their opening encounter in this year’s 6 Nations championship.
For the home side, in comes Maxime Mermoz at centre in place of the experienced Yannick Jauzion, while Damien Traille, usually deployed at centre, finds himself at fullback. As if this were not enough winger Aurelien Rougerie lines up at centre for Les Bleus.
In the pack number eight Imanol Harinordoquy in preferred in place of the iconic Sebastien Chabal who has to await his introduction from the bench.
Scotland changes are more understandable as Nick De Luca replaces Graeme Morrison due to injury Sean Lamont is dropped from the wing in favour of Max Evans. However, Scotland coach Andy Robinson has still changed things around with second row Nathan Hines playing at flanker so as to make room for the Glasgow Warriors pairing of Alastair Kellock and Richie Gray in the engine room.
There is a non-Scottish club pairing at half-back as well, as Cardiff Blues’ Dan Parks and Gloucester’s Rory Lawson play at fly-half and scrum-half respectively, while Chris Paterson again finds himself jettisoned from the side all together, unable to find a spot on the bench even.
Scotland have not come away from the Stade de France since they won the last match of the 5 Nations back in 1999, which was also the year in which they won their final championship to date. This time, in the final match of this year’s opening weekend of matches, France start out as defending champions, having won the Grand Slam as they defeated all other nations.
France team: Damien Traille (Biarritz); Yoann Huget (Bayonne), Aurelien Rougerie (Clermont Auvergne), Maxime Mermoz (Perpignan), Maxime Medard (Toulouse); Francois Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Morgan Parra (Clermont Auvergne); Thomas Domingo (Clermont Auvergne), William Servat (Toulouse), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Julien Pierre (Clermont Auvergne), Lionel Nallet (Racing Metro), Thierry Dusautoir (captain, Toulouse), Julien Bonnaire (Clermont Auvergne), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz).
Replacements: Guilhem Guirado (Perpignan), Luc Ducalcon (Castres), Jerome Thion (Biarritz), Sebastien Chabal (Racing Metro), Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz), David Skrela (Toulouse), Clement Poitrenaud (Toulouse).
Scotland team: Hugo Southwell (Stade Francais), Nikki Walker (Ospreys), Joe Ansbro (Northampton Saints), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh), Max Evans (Glasgow Warriors); Dan Parks (Cardiff Blues) Rory Lawson (Gloucester); Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Euan Murray (Northampton Saints), Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors, capt), Nathan Hines (Leinster), John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), Kelly Brown (Saracens).
Substitutes: Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Vernon (Glasgow Warriors), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh), Mike Blair (Edinburgh), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Lamont (Scarlets).