Injuries have forced France coach Bernard Laporte to select a new-look back row and half-back pairing for their RBS 6 Nations opener against Scotland in Paris on Saturday.
With Olivier Magne, Serge Betsen and number eight Imanol Harinordoquy all absent, Laporte has gone with Julien Bonnaire, Sebastien Chabal and Patrick Tabacco at the rear of the scrum.
Experienced scrum-half Pierre Mignoni, who was preferred to Dimitri Yachvili, will be paired for the first time with fly-half Yann Delaigue.
''We need someone to take charge at scrum-half and Pierre has the right credentials to take up the challenge,'' said Laporte.
Mignoni has not played for France since the 2002 championship when he was used mainly as a replacement for the now retired Fabien Galthie.
''We need someone with authority in this position and that is his role with Clermont Auvergne,'' said Laporte, who described the selection of Tabacco at number eight over Bonnaire as the sensible option.
''Patrick played as a number eight in the 2003 World Cup so this was a logical choice for us even though we could have also chosen Julien.
''Taking Patrick is a wise choice because he has a lot of experience.''
Delaigue will be the first-choice goal-kicker, supported by Damien Traille.
England's preparations for the Autumn International series were potentially dealt a further blow as Maro Itoje was forced to undergo an x-ray after Saracens' European victory over Scarlets on Saturday night.