The uncapped 22-year-old was named in Marc Lievremont's starting line-up for Les Bleus' first World Cup warm-up game.
He will feature alongside France captain Thierry Dusautoir and club skipper Imanol Harinordoquy in the back row.
"We wanted to integrate Raphael Lakafia," Lievremont said on www.lequipe.fr. "He will be well surrounded by Thierry Dusautoir, Imanol Harinordoquy and Dimitri Yachvili.
"We want to have consistency and have two good matches by lining up two homogenous groups. It is a mixture of youth and experience in all areas."
Vincent Clerc has been named on the wing despite nursing a knee injury, with prop Fabien Barcella named 23rd man notwithstanding an elbow problem.
Lievremont's side will face Ireland at home this weekend and then in Dublin on August 20 before kicking off their World Cup campaign against Japan in North Shore City on September 10.
France team: Traille; Clerc, Marty, Mermoz, Palisson; Trinh-Duc, Yachvili; Marconnet, Szarzewski, Ducalcon, Pierre, Millo-Chluski, Dusautoir (capt), Harinordoquy, Lakafia.
Replacements: Guirado, Poux, Nallet, Bonnaire, Parra, Skrela, Medard.
23rd man: Barcella.
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