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Yachvili pulls out of Ireland match with back pain

Updated: February 09, 2012, 10:29

PARIS(AP) France will be missing veteran scrumhalf Dimitri Yachvili when it takes on Ireland in Saturday's Six Nations rugby match against Ireland, with Morgan Parra stepping in to replace him at Stade de France.

Yachvili has failed to shake off a back problem, and will be replaced in the starting lineup by Parra, who will play alongside flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc, while Julien Dupuy has been drafted in to the squad as backup.

"I don't feel 100 percent fit,'' Yachvili said Thursday. "I think it's more sensible to rest and to get some treatment, so that I'm ready for selection as quickly as possible.''

Parra and Trinh-Duc formed a successful halfback pairing when France won the Six Nations Grand Slam two years ago.

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre preferred not to take any risks with Yachvili's back complaint, and that calling up Dupuy so early gave him more time to get up to speed in training, should he be needed on Saturday.

"First and foremost, we thought about the player's well being,'' Saint-Andre said. "I'm obviously very sad for Dimitri, who always brings a lot to the France team with his experience, and I wish him a speedy recovery.''

World Cup finalist France beat Italy 30-12 last weekend in Saint-Andre's first game in charge, while Wales edged out Ireland 23-21 thanks to Leigh Halfpenny's last-minute penalty.

Parra, who has 37 test caps and played in the World Cup final - albeit as a makeshift flyhalf selected ahead of Trinh-Duc - is expected to take kicking duties. He has kicked 51 penalties and one drop goal for France.

Dupuy, who has six caps, is also a reliable kicker.

"Julien Dupuy seemed an obvious choice given his international experience and the way he's started the season with Stade Francais,'' Saint-Andre said.

The 28-year-old Dupuy last played for France in a 39-12 defeat to New Zealand in November, 2009. His international career was then rocked as he received a 24-week ban for eye gouging on Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris, ruling him out of the 2010 Six Nations tournament.

France's squad also contains prop David Attoub, who received an even longer ban for gouging - also on Ferris. Attoub's initial 70-week ban was reduced to 52 weeks.

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