Paul Willemse will make his first start for France in their opening Six Nations match against Wales in Paris on Friday.
A former Junior Springbok, Willemse qualified for French selection by the residency rule after playing for Montpellier since 2015.
The 26-year-old forms a powerful second-row combination with the 126kg Sébastien Vahaamahina.
Meanwhile, teenager Romain Ntamack, who helped guide the France U20 side to the 2018 World Rugby U20 Championship crown, will also make his debut in midfield alongside the experienced Wesley Fofana, with Mathieu Bastareaud left out of the match-day 23 entirely.
Clermont’s experienced pair of scrumhalf Morgan Parra and Fofana return to the starting lineup after missing the November Tests series through injuries.
France – 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Wesley Fofana, 12 Romain Ntamack, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Arthur Iturria, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 3 Uini Antonio, 2 Guilhelm Guirado (c), 1 Jefferson Poirot.
Subs: 16 Julien Marchand, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Felix Lambey, 20 Gregory Alldritt, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Gael Fickou, 23 Geoffrey Doumayrou.
Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP