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Bastareaud back from ban as France make 5 changes for Friday night's game against Italy

The French have lost their opening two games against Ireland and Scotland.

FRANCE HAVE RUNG the changes as they seek to bounce back from opening losses to Ireland and Scotland for Friday night’s Six Nations clash with Italy at the Stade Vélodrome [KO 8pm, TV3].

FranceÕs Mathieu Bastareaud Mathieu Bastareaud returns for France. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Mathieu Bastareaud comes back into the team after completing his three-week ban for a homophobic slur while playing for Toulon against Benetton Treviso.

He’s one of five changes made by coach Jacques Brunel with Hugo Bonneval, Benjamin Fall, Remy Grosso and Paul Gabrillagues also handed starting spots.

Brunel dropped a host of players from his squad in the wake of the Scotland match due to their ‘inappropriate behaviour’ after they went out in Edinburgh following the 32-26 defeat.

Star wing Teddy Thomas, centre Remi Lamerat, number eight Louis Picamoles, out-half Anthony Belleau, midfielder Jonathan Danty, locks Arthur Iturria and Félix Lambey, and flankers Alexandre Lapandry and Sekou Macalou were all omitted.

France (v Italy)

15. Hugo Bonneval
14. Benjamin Fall
13. Mathieu Bastareaud
12. Geoffrey Doumayrou
11. Remy Grosso
10. Lionel Beauxis
9. Maxime Machenaud

1. Jefferson Poirot
2. Guilhem Guirado (captain)
3. Rabah Slimani
4. Paul Gabrillagues
5. Sebastien Vahaamahina
6. Wenceslas Lauret
7. Yacouba Camara
8. Marco Tauleigne

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