New France coach Marc Lievremont has revealed he selected his squad for the RBS 6 Nations opener with Scotland based purely on recent form.
The former Test forward has chosen only 11 of last year's World Cup squad for the championship opener against Frank Hadden's men at Murrayfield.
Among those dropped are Sebastien Chabal, Pierre Mignoni, Jerome Thion, Clement Poitrenaud, Imanol Harinordoquy and David Marty.
Indeed Scotland are likely to field a side which is vastly more experienced than their opponents - with the front row an area they will particularly seek to target given France will have an entirely new trio.
The selection of Lievremont is a surprise given the plethora of retirements - including Raphael Ibanez, and Fabian Pelous - from Bernard Laporte's World Cup squad.
Hadden's side will therefore enter the match on February 3 with high hopes of repeating their victory in 2006 - but France's new coach is certain he has picked the best players available.
Lievremont said: "Over the past three months we have watched a lot of matches and followed the progress of French rugby. We took everything into consideration - the players who are in form and the team we are to play against."
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.