France's Bastareaud returns for England rugby clash
PARIS: France centre Mathieu Bastareaud was the only change to the starting line-up for this Saturday's Six Nations clash with England at the Stade de France from the one that beat Italy 46-10 last weekend when the team was announced on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old Stade Francais star replaces David Marty -- despite the Perpignan centre scoring two tries in the victory over the Italians -- alongside Yannick Jauzion in midfield as the French search for their first Grand Slam since 2004.
Bastareaud -- outstanding in France's first three victories in the tournament over Scotland, Ireland and Wales -- missed out on a starting place against the Italians because of a calf niggle he had felt earlier last week, though, he came on in the second-half as a replacement.
France coach Marc Lievremont opted to retain the 5ft 5inch wing Marc Andreu -- who scored his first try for France in the Italy win and set up Jauzion for another in what was his first start - instead of the more physically imposing Julien Malzieu.
"With a fullback (Clement Poitrenaud) and wings who are relatively light, we wanted to return to a more solid midfield," said the 39-year-old.
"There was a discussion over whether to pick Marc (Andreu) or Julien (Malzieu), who has also played very well in this tournament."
"We chose Marc for his punch and dynamism, and also his aggressiveness in defence."
"We are anticipating a particularly physical encounter, at the top of the range of engagement and ferocity, certainly not seen yet in this tournament," added Lievremont, who is searching for his first win over England since replacing Bernard Laporte after the 2007 World Cup.
Lievremont -- so often criticised for his chopping and changing of his teams during his tenure in which he has tried over 70 players -- retains the same front row that he has used throughout the campaign.
However he prefers the relatively untried but thus far impressive Julien Pierre instead of icon Sebastien Chabal to start in the second row alongside former captain Lionel Nallet.
England may not have been convincing in this year's Six Nations but go into the game with a run of four successive victories over the French in competitive matches dating back to the 2007 Six Nations.
Clement Poitrenaud; Marc Andreu, Mathieu Bastareaud, Yannick Jauzion, Alexis Palisson; Francois Trinh-Duc, Morgan Parra; Imanol Harinordoquy, Julien Bonnaire, Thierry Dusautoir (capt); Julien Pierre, Lionel Nallet; Nicolas Mas, William Servat, Thomas Domingo
Replacements used: Dimitri Szarzewski, Jean-Baptiste Poux, Sebastien Chabal, Alexandre Lapandry, Dimitri Yachvili, David Marty, Julien Malzieu