Wesley Fofana out of France's World Cup clash with Italy
Last Updated: 19/09/15 9:52pm
France will be without injured centre Wesley Fofana for their Rugby World Cup opener against Italy on Saturday at Twickenham.
Fofana suffered a thigh injury against Scotland in France's warm-up match earlier this month and he has failed to recover in time.
His place alongside Mathieu Bastareaud goes to Alexandre Dumoulin with coach Philippe Saint-Andre otherwise able to call on his strongest line-up.
Captain Thierry Dusautoir was passed fit to take on the Azzurri earlier this week after being a slight doubt with a hand problem, while Yoann Maestri is fully recovered from a rib injury to join Pascal Pape in the second row.
Sebastien Tillous-Borde has been preferred to Morgan Parra at scrum-half, leaving fly-half Frederic Michalak to take kicking duties.
Experienced hooker Dmitri Szarzewski is not even on the bench but Saint-Andre expects him to be fit to face Romania at London's Olympic Stadium on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Leonardo Ghiraldini will captain Italy in the absence of back-row lynchpin Sergio Parisse.
Parisse needed to have fluid removed from his leg after Italy's warm-up game against Wales earlier this month and has been given more time to recover.
Samuela Vunisa shifts from openside flanker to replace Parisse at No 8 and Azzurri coach Jacques Brunel is confident he has an able deputy.
"He was the strongest replacement and has played this role before. (Alessandro) Zanni has a bit, but not as much. The main responsibility for the No 8 comes in the scrum and France's scrum is one of the strongest around," Brunel said.
"We have to respond as a squad and the other players have to fulfil their roles, not just the experienced players, but everyone. Our half-backs are young and while they still have to develop, this is a chance to show their quality."
Exeter Chiefs signing Michele Campagnaro will make his World Cup debut in place of star centre Luca Morisi, who was ruled out of the tournament with torn knee ligaments.