Vahaamahina to start for France against Wales in Six Nations

PARIS (AP) France coach Guy Noves made just one change Thursday to his starting line-up to face Wales in their final Six nations match.

Noves largely kept faith with the players that scored four tries to comfortably beat Italy 40-18 in Rome last weekend.

Having recovered from back problems, lock Sebastien Vahaamahina will start at the expense of Julien Le Devedec, who has been named on the bench.

”Starting with Sebastien was quite logical, he worked hard last week to be competitive and was ready last weekend, but we did not want him to fret over his back,” Noves said.

France can finish second in the tournament if it beats Wales at the Stade de France on Saturday and England wins in Ireland.

Flanker Fabien Sanconnie, who made his debut against Italy, earned a second consecutive start despite Damien Chouly’s return from injury, while Baptiste Serin and Camille Lopez will once again start together in the half-backs.

Experienced flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc, whose season has been hampered by a broken arm, remains on the bench after a convincing appearance at center against Italy.

”Camille Lopez fulfilled his mission in the previous match and Francois was very good when he came on,” Noves said. ”Both understand why we keep going with Camille.”

France has lost its last two games against Wales at the Stade de France.

”Hopefully my players will be very close, and if possible ahead of Wales,” Noves said.

France: Brice Dulin, Noa Nakaitaci, Remi Lamerat, Gael Fickou, Virimi Vakatawa, Camille Lopez, Baptiste Serin�; Louis Picamoles, Kevin Gourdon, Fabien Sanconnie, Yoann Maestri, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Rabah Slimani, Guilhem Guirado, Cyril Baille. Reserves�: Camille Chat, Uini Atonio, Eddy Ben Arous, Julien Le Devedec, Damien Chouly, Antoine Dupont, Francois Trinh-Duc, Yoann Huget.