June International Tours

Dupuy starts for France against All Blacks

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Scrumhalf Julien Dupuy will make his debut for France against New Zealand in the first test at Dunedin on Saturday.


Dupuy, a slightly built player who joined the Leicester Tigers from Biarritz, was the only new cap announced Wednesday in the French run-on side for the match at Carisbrook.


The 78-kilogram (172-pound) Dupuy, 25, will form a new halves pairing with Montpellier flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc, who has made 10 test appearances for France over the last two seasons.


Dupuy and Trinh-Duc only met for the first time when the French squad assembled at the airport before departure for New Zealand.


“We try to speak a lot at training and afterwards. Like New Zealand, this team is still learning,” Dupuy said in an interview.


He said he was confident of making a good fist of his debut in which he will shoulder the extra burden of goalkicking.


“It was a good year for me,” Dupuy said. “We (Leicester) won the English championship, lost the Heineken Cup final, I get my first selection (for France).


“Those games give me confidence. In each game you have pressure.


I know it will be hard against New Zealand but I try to turn it into positive pressure.” Though France will be missing some players involved in last weekend’s French championship final, the first test side is still seasoned.


Veterans such as Dimitri Yachvili, Yannic Jauzion and Sebastien Chabal were named on the reserves bench, yielding starting places to form players.


France’s coach Marc Lievremont named a nine-man bench including props Nicolas Mas and Thomas Domingo, who joined the touring squad Monday after playing for Perpignan and Clermont Auvergne in the Cup final.


Mas and Domingo will be given time to show they have recovered from the final and their long flight to New Zealand before being confirmed in the match 22.


Five members of France’s squad were involved in the World Cup quarterfinal at Cardiff in October, 2007 when France produced a surprise 20-18 win over New Zealand.


France has otherwise beaten the All Blacks only three times in 21 tests in New Zealand since 1961.


“They are missing some players but we know the depth of New Zealand rugby,” Lievremont said. “They should have no worries about the quality of their team.” New Zealand will play France twice and Italy once in preparation for the annual Tri-Nations series against Australia and South Africa.


— France: Maxime Medard, Cedric Heymans, Mathieu Bastareaud, Vincent Clerc, Damien Traille, Francois Trinh-Duc, Julien Dupuy; Louis Picamoles, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Thierry Dusautoir (captain), Romain Millo-Chluski, Pascal Pape, Sylvain Marconnet, William Servat, Fabien Barcella.


Reserves: Dimitri Szarzewski, Nicolas Mas, Thomas Domingo, Sebastien Chabal, Remy Martin, Julien Puricelli, Dimitri Yachvili, Yannick Jauzion, Alexis Palisson (two to be omitted).


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