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Rugby | Six Nations

Maxime Medard © Gallo Images

France make two changes to squad



Toulouse wing Maxime Medard and Perpignan lock Sebastien Vahaamahina were brought into the France squad on Tuesday for the visit to Ireland in Six Nations rugby next week.

Despite his team still searching for its first win, coach Philippe Saint-Andre limited his changes after an improved effort in the 23-13 loss to England last weekend. France had previously fallen to Italy and Wales.

"We have made two changes so as to prepare for our last two matches on the foundations of our match against the English," Saint-Andre said. "Our group worked better at Twickenham. We have to capitalise on that. With a lot of players who are still learning on an international level, this continuity is important."

Medard, who has 10 tries in 30 tests, comes in for Benjamin Fall. Medard hasn't played since he injured his knee in last year's tournament win against Scotland.

Vahaamahina earned his only cap as a replacement against Australia last November. He could make his tournament debut after replacing Jocelino Suta.

"We looked at all the league matches this weekend and rewatched our match," Saint-Andre said. "Maxime showed that he has returned to his top level after injury and he will bring us his talents and his experience. As regards Sebastien, he was part of the November tests with France. He is performing very well at the moment with his club, he is young, and is showing an interesting amount of progress.

"These are players we have been looking at for a long time, looking ahead to the 2015 World Cup. It's good that they're back in the group and that they can work with the squad and get some playing time."

France meet Ireland at Lansdowne Road on March 9, then face Scotland at home on March 16. They are at risk of finishing with the wooden spoon for the first time since 1957.

FRANCE SQUAD: Forwards: Vincent Debaty, Thomas Domingo, Benjamin Kayser, Dimitri Szarzewski, Luc Ducalcon, Nicolas Mas, Yoann Maestri, Christophe Samson, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Antoine Claassen, Thierry Dusautoir (captain), Yannick Nyanga, Louis Picamoles.
Backs: Maxime Machenaud, Morgan Parra, Frederic Michalak, Francois Trinh-Duc, Mathieu Bastareaud, Vincent Clerc, Wesley Fofana, Florian Fritz, Yoann Huget, Maxime Medard.

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