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French changes for Six Nations rugby
06:47 AEST Fri Feb 8 2013

France have made two changes as they prepare to take on Grand Slam champions Wales in Saturday's Six Nations showdown in Cardiff.

Both countries lost their opening encounters - France going down to Italy in Rome while Wales succumbed on home turf to Ireland.

French coach Philippe Saint-Andre has brought in Toulon centre Mathieu Bastareaud in place of Florian Fritz, while Bastareaud's club teammate and second-rower Jocelino Suta steps in for injured captain Pascal Pape with flanker Thierry Dusautoir skippering the side.

Suta, 30, has just three caps to date, having made his debut in November's win over Australia at Stade de France.

Despite the Rome loss, Saint-Andre retains his halves pairing of Frederic Michalak and Maxime Machenaud as the French look to inflict a ninth straight loss on Wales - who have enjoyed just three away wins against France since 1975.

Bastareaud, back from two years away from the international scene, came on from the bench for Fritz midway through the second half.

Fritz has started the past seven internationals and Saint-Andre had kind words for him despite dropping him to the bench.

"We know all about Florian's qualities. We know he will come on and it's down to him to bring to bear all his qualities along with the ferocity of his defensive capabilities."