France coach Phillippe Saint-Andre claims he had little choice but to swing the selection axe following Les Bleus' first Test thrashing by the Wallabies.
The tourists have made 10 changes to their starting XV for Saturday's second Test in Melbourne, including the return of inspirational captain Thierry Dusautoir from an arm injury.
Dusautoir's inclusion, along with that of uncapped prop Alexandre Menini, five-eighth Remi Tales, giant centre Mathieu Bastareaud and fullback Brice Dulin, was expected after they were rested for the opening Test following their late arrival in Australia due to domestic commitments back in France.
But Saint-Andre has changed both prop forwards with Rabah Slimani promoted from the bench with Thomas Domingo and Nicolas Mas, captain in the first Test, dumped to the reserves.
Hooker Guilhem Guirado, lock Yoann Maestri, No.8 Damien Chouly, inside centre Wesley Fofana and winger Yoann Huget are the only starting players to retain their place for the second Test.
"We had to make changes, it was a very poor performance from our side," Saint-Andre said.
"Australia played very well after we had some key players injured or involved for the (Top 14) final.
"Some guys didn't perform well from last week and they didn't deserve to be in the starting 15. We know that we are not favourite but I just hope it will be a better contest than last week."
Tales will form a new halves pairing with halfback Morgan Parra, who impressed in a 10 minute cameo off the bench in Brisbane, with Frederic Michalak to be the reserve five-eighth.
Saint-Andre said having flanker Dusautoir back after more than six months on the sidelines will be massive for his team.
"It's important for the leadership, for the experience, his facility to go to a higher level and for our team not to panic because we panic too much," he said.
"Of course he's a very important player for us and he's back after a long time because he was injured for the Six Nations and hasn't played with us since November.
"It's very good to have him back."
French team for second Test: Alexandre Menini, Guilhem Guirado, Rabah Slimani, Alexandre Flanquart, Yoann Maestri, Yannick Nyanga, Thierry Dusautoir (capt), Damien Chouly, Morgan Parra, Remi Tales, Maxime Medard, Wesley Fofana, Mathieu Bastareaud, Yoann Huget, Brice Dulin. Res: Brice Mach, Thomas Domingo, Nicolas Mas, Bernard Le Roux, Louis Picamoles, Antoine Burban, Frederic Michalak, Remi Lamerat.