PARIS (AP) — Flanker Fabien Sanconnie will make his debut and Bruce Dulin will return at fullback in the France team for the Six Nations match at Italy on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Sanconnie, who plays for Brive in the Top 14 league, replaces Bernard Le Roux, while Dulin will make his first start of the tournament.
In a boost for coach Guy Noves, experienced flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc will return to the squad after recovering from a broken arm and take his place on the bench.
Trinh-Duc, who has 56 test caps, is likely to come on for Camille Lopez at some point during the match in Rome. Noves could get a glimpse of a potentially thrilling halves pairing with skillful scrumhalf Baptiste Serin, who has been one of France's best players so far.
France needed a last-gasp penalty to beat Italy 23-21 at home last year but routed the Italians 29-0 away in 2015.
Italy has lost its three matches so far, against Wales, Ireland and England, and is in last place.
France is fifth, beating Scotland at home but losing at England and Ireland.
France: Brice Dulin, Noa Nakaitaci, Remi Lamerat, Gael Fickou, Virimi Vakatawa, Camille Lopez, Baptiste Serin; Louis Picamoles, Kevin Gourdon, Fabien Sanconnie, Yoann Maestri, Julien Le Devedec, Rabah Slimani, Guilhem Guirado (captain), Cyril Baille. Reserves: Christopher Tolofua, Uini Atonio, Eddy Ben Arous, Paul Jedrasiak, Bernard Le Roux, Antoine Dupont, Francois Trinh-Duc, Yoann Huget.