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Rugby France make three changes for Six Nations clash with Ireland

France coach Guy Novès has made three changes to his side for Saturday's Six Nations clash against Ireland in Dublin.

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France coach Guy Noves announces his starting line-up for the upcoming Six Nations clash against Ireland, during a press conference in Nice, on February 23, 2017 play

France coach Guy Noves announces his starting line-up for the upcoming Six Nations clash against Ireland, during a press conference in Nice, on February 23, 2017

(AFP)

France coach Guy Novès has made three changes to his side for Saturday's Six Nations clash against Ireland in Dublin.

Rabah Slimani, Bernard Le Roux and Yoann Huget all start as Virimi Vakatawa, Loann Goujon and Unini Atonio drop out of the side that defeated Scotland 22-16 last time out.

Prop Slimani comes in at tight-head in place of Atonio, who drops to the bench, with flanker Le Roux and fullback Huget replacing injured pair Loann Goujon and Virimi Vakatawa.

Toulouse's Huget has not featured since the first November Test against Samoa.

"The logic was (to replace Vakatawa by) Yoann who is returning to form", after a serious knee injury during the opening game of the 2015 World Cup, Noves explained.

France winger Yoann Huget has been recalled to the starting line-up for the Six Nations clash against Ireland play

France winger Yoann Huget has been recalled to the starting line-up for the Six Nations clash against Ireland

(AFP)

Vakatawa had been systemically selected since Noves took over as France coach but failed to fire against Scotland and was replaced early.

No fly-half has been named on the bench with scrum-half Baptiste Serin and fullback Scott Spedding ready to step in should Camille Lopez retire injured.

Racing 92's Le Roux returns after being hampered by injuries since the 2016 Six Nations, as Charles Ollivon drops to the bench, to support Louis Picamoles amd Kévin Gourdon.

Stade Francais prop Slimani comes in as Atonio struggled during the first two matches of the tournament with France losing their opener 19-16 at champions England.

"Rabah was convincing each time he came on, the scrum is one of Ireland's strong points. It was logical to allow him to start, he is a very serious and very fit boy," Noves added.

France's Eddy Ben Arous talks to reporters ahead of the Six Nations match against Ireland, on February 23, 2017 play

France's Eddy Ben Arous talks to reporters ahead of the Six Nations match against Ireland, on February 23, 2017

(AFP)

Uncapped centre Henry Chavancy and wing Djibril Camara are both on the bench.

Both Ireland and France won one and lost one of their opening two Six Nations games and a victory is vital to stay in the hunt to win this season's championship.

France beat Scotland 22-16 in Paris last time out while Ireland thrashed Italy 63-10 in Rome.

Teams (15-1)

France

Scott Spedding; Yoann Huget, Remi Lamerat, Gael Fickou, Noa Nakaitaci; Camille Lopez, Baptiste Serin; Kevin Gourdon, Louis Picamoles, Bernard Le Roux; Yoann Maestri, Sebastien Vahaamahina; Rabah Slimani, Guilhem Guirado (capt), Cyril Baille

Replacements: Christopher Tolofua, Uini Atonio, Eddy Ben Arous, Julien Le Devedec, Charles Ollivon, Maxime Machenaud, Henry Chavancy, Djibril Camara

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