While Clement Poitrenaud's inclusion at full-back was made on account of Maxime Medard's injury against Italy, Saint-André chose to drop Louis Picamoles to the bench allowing Bonnaire to come in at openside.
France have a superb record at home to Ireland in the RBS 6 Nations with their last defeat coming 12 years ago but Saint-André is not underestimating their threat.
And he admits Bonnaire's inclusion was to ensure they gain parity with Paul O'Connell and co at the set-piece.
He said: "Ireland always play quick line-outs," Saint-Andre said. "We had problems with our line-outs at the start against Scotland, plus Bonnaire gives us great mobility.
"Louis was good in defence, and he tidied up well, but he struggled with the attacking side of the game and knows he should have participated more. We want to see him running with the ball in his hand."
Although France have won two from two, many were expecting Saint-André to make further changes after labouring when seeing off the challenge of Scotland, 23-17, at Murrayfield.
Hooker Dimitri Szarzewski was off colour in that match but Saint-Andrésays he deserves a second chance with the experienced figure of William Servat promised a run-out towards the end of the match.
"We kept Dimitri because he needs confidence, even though he missed a few tackles at the start and was lacking in his judgment," Saint-André added. "But we have faith in him and we're sure of his ability.
"William is always going to be dangerous in the last 30 minutes with all his experience."
15. Clement Poitrenaud (Toulouse)
14. Vincent Clerc (Toulouse)
13. Aurelien Rougerie (Clermont Auvergne)
12. Wesley Fofana (Clermont Auvergne)
11. Julien Malzieu (Clermont Auvergne)
10. Francois Trinh-Duc (Montpellier)
9. Morgan Parra (Clermont Auvergne)
1. Jean-Baptiste Poux (Toulouse)
2. Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Francais)
3. Nicolas Mas (Perpignan)
4. Pascal Pape (Stade Francais)
5. Yoann Maestri (Toulouse)
6. Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse)
7. Julien Bonnaire (Clermont Auvergne)
8. Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz)
16. William Servat (Toulouse)
17. Vincent Debaty (Clermont Auvergne)
18. Lionel Nallet (Racing Metro)
19. Louis Picamoles (Toulouse)
20. Julien Dupuy (Stade Francais)
21. Lionel Beauxis (Toulouse)
22. Maxime Mermoz (Perpignan)