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Wilkinson wary of new-look France

Wilkinson wary of new-look France
By PA Sport

24/02/2011 at 01:11Updated 24/02/2011 at 01:14

England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson believes France's new look for Saturday's crunch Six Nations showdown is symptomatic of their strength in depth.

Coach Marc Lievremont has cited squad rotation as the reason for making five changes, one positional, for a match which looks set to decide the destination of the title.

However, Wilkinson knows from experience gathered while playing for Toulon that Lievremont is looking to decide upon his best combinations and he said: "Part of their strength in depth is finding that perfect formula on the field and getting the guys to play together. It's not just a case of we'll put him with him, it's about who works well with who. That connection is very important."

Sebastien Chabal, Vincent Clerc, Dimitri Yachvili and Yannick Jauzion have been recalled, while Maxime Medard switches from wing to full-back to replace Clement Poitrenaud.

The biggest casualty is goal-kicking scrum-half Morgan Parra, while the number of changes have raised eyebrows given it is World Cup year.

Wilkinson continued: "In French club games you tend to see somebody coming out of nowhere."

"Guys pop up with big performances and because of that it's hard to know the best relationships to have in your team with regard to who plays with who.

"There are guys in the French league who are scoring tries and doing great things.

"Last year Alexis Palisson was playing, now there are other guys there. But they're all capable of really pulling some pretty good stuff out.

"Maybe the changes are about trying to find that ideal system before the World Cup."