Six Nations

Bastareaud makes France Six Nations comeback v Italy

Mathieu Bastareaud (Gallo)
Mathieu Bastareaud (Gallo)

Aix-en-Provence - Mathieu Bastareaud will make his return to France's Six Nations team to face Italy following a three-week ban for using a homophobic slur. 

Coach Jacques Brunel has made five changes to the team that lost 32-26 to Scotland 10 days ago ahead of Friday's encounter in Marseille. 

Given that eight players were handed a one-game international ban after a late-night drinking session in Edinburgh following the Scotland defeat, Bastareaud's return was widely expected among a raft of enforced changes. 

He was part of Brunel's initial pre-Six Nations squad announced in January before being handed the ban for insulting Treviso's Sebastian Negri in a European Champions Cup match. 

Toulon's Bastareaud replaces Remi Lamerat of Clermont at outside centre as four of the five changes are in the backs. 

Benjamin Fall comes off the bench and into the starting XV in place of Six Nations top try-scorer Teddy Thomas at right wing while on the opposite flank Remy Grosso replaces Virimi Vakatawa, one of two changes not induced by the Edinburgh suspensions. 

The other sees Hugo Bonneval start at fullback instead of Geoffrey Palis while the only forward change is at lock where Paul Gabrillagues takes the place of Arthur Iturria. 

There were also six changes to the eight replacements.

Teams:

France

15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 Benjamin Fall, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Remy Grosso, 10 Lionel Beauxis, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhelm Guirado (captain), 1 Jefferson Poirot

Substitutes: 16 Adrien Pelisse, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Cedate Gomes Sa, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Kelian Galletier, 21 Baptiste Couilloud, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Gael Fickou

Italy

TBA

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