Lakafia in France team to play Ireland

by staff

Biarritz No.8 Raphael Lakafia will make his debut for France on Saturday after being named in the starting line-up for their World Cup warm-up match against Ireland in Bordeaux.

The 22-year-old, who muscled his way into coach Marc Lievremont's preliminary squad after some barn-storming performances for Biarritz and at the expense of the experienced Sebastien Chabal, will take his place in the back row between club colleague Imanol Harinordoquy and captain Thierry Dusautoir.

Lievremont has included a number of players who have been out of action for some time, including hooker Dimitri Szarzewski who has not played since January. Number one hooker William Servat is not included as he also returns from injury.

Maxime Mermoz, who has been out of action since February, returns at centre while Damien Traille has been named at full-back - his first outing since the end of March.

Vincent Clerc is named on the wing two weeks after he had surgery on his right knee while prop Fabien Barcella, who has been sidelined for a year, is on the bench.

Second row forward Romain Millo-Chluski makes his first start for France since being dropped after the humiliating 59-16 defeat by Australia last November while Dimitri Yavchili is preferred to Morgan Parra at scrum-half.

Following Saturday's game, France will travel to Ireland with the two teams meeting again in Dublin on August 20.

Team (15 to 1): Damien Traille; Vincent Clerc, David Marty, Maxime Mermoz, Alexis Palisson; Francois Trinh-Duc, Dimitri Yachvili; Raphael Lakafia, Imanol Harinordoquy, Thierry Dusautoir (captain), Romain Millo-Chluski, Julien Pierre, Luc Ducalcon, Dimitri Szarzewski, Sylvain Marconnet.

Res (16-22): Guilhem Guirado, Jean-Baptiste Poux, Lionel Nallet, Julien Bonnaire, Morgan Parra, David Skrela, Max Medard, Fabien Barcella.