Six Nations

Camara to make French debut against Wales

Guy Noves (File)
Guy Noves (File)

Cardiff - Winger Djibril Camara will make his France debut in Friday's Six Nations match against Wales, coach Guy Noves announced Wednesday in one of five changes from the side that edged out Ireland.

Maxime Machenaud replaces Sebastien Bezy at scrumhalf, while lock Paul Jedrasiak relegates Yoann Maestri to the bench.

Stade Francais' Camara, 26, was only called up on Sunday as cover for injured squad members Teddy Thomas and Marvin O'Connor.

But backs coach Jean-Frederic Dubois knows Camara well from his days with Stade, and the powerful, strong-running winger is thrown straight into the mix for Friday's evening game at the Principality Stadium, handed what could be the daunting prospect of marking either George North or Alex Cuthbert.

"I expect him to not be overawed by the occasion, that he gives his best on the pitch, that he brings his youth and desire," Noves said.

"That's what we ask of a young player playing his first match for France. There's not particular pressure on him."

As expected Noves opted for Machenaud's experience at half-back despite Bezy starting the last two games for France, a 23-21 win over Italy and a narrow 10-9 victory over Ireland.

Machenaud came on as a replacement against the Irish and played a pivotal role in sealing the win.

"Maxime came on and showed perfect poise," said Noves. "To better bond the squad, we had to reward this player."

In that same vein, vice-captain Maestri drops to the bench with 23-year-old Jedrasiak lining up in the boiler room with Alexandre Flanquart.

The backrow features Damien Chouly at No 8 alongside Wencelsas Lauret and Antoine Burban, the latter's club form for Stade Francais rewarded, having last won a cap on the June 2014 tour of Australia.

Rabah Slimani, whose appearance off the bench was a turning factor in the win over Ireland, starts in the front row alongside fellow prop Jefferson Poirot and hooking skipper Guilhem Guirado.

The replacements bench also includes flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc, the 50-time capped Montpellier back who was not selected for the World Cup and has just come back from a leg injury.

Trinh-Duc will proved apt cover for Jules Plisson, while Jonathan Danty and Maxime Mermoz continue in midfield, Fiji-born Vrimi Vakatawa filling the other winger's spot, with Maxime Medard at full-back.

France

15 Maxime Medard; 14 Vrimi Vakatawa, 13 Maxime Mermoz, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Djbril Camara; 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Maxime Machenaud; 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Antoine Burban, 6 Wencelsas Lauret; 5 Alexandre Flanquart, 4 Paul Jedrasiak; 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (capt), 1 Jefferson Poirot

Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Uini Atonio, 18 Vincent Pelo, 19 Yoann Maestri, 20 Loann Goujon, 21 Sebastien Bezy, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Gael Fickou

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