France coach Jacques Brunel has made five changes to the side that beat Tonga a fortnight ago with captain Guilhem Guirado returning to the starting lineup.
Having not started since the opening pool game against Argentina after reports of a rift between the captain and senior management, Guirado is back to lead the side against Wales in Sunday’s quarter-final.
Guirado replaces Camille Chat at hooker and will combine with props Jefferson Poirot and Rabah Slimani for the 16th time, a record for France since the game went professional.
South African-born lock Bernard Le Roux replaces Paul Gabrillagues, who reverts to the bench.
In the backs, the lively Antoine Dupont replaces Baptiste Serin at scrumhalf, while Yoann Huget comes in for Alivereti Raka. Gael Fickou starts ahead of Sofiane Guitoune, who like Raka also drops out of the match-day squad.
Fullback Maxime Medard is the only survivor from the French side that eliminated Wales in the 2011 semi-final.
France –15 Maxime Medard, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon, 6 Wenceslas Lauret 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Jefferson Poirot.
Subs: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Paul Gabrillagues, 20 Louis Picamoles, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Camille Lopez, 23 Vincent Rattez.
Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP Photo