June International Tours

France change three for second All Black Test



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France have made three changes to their starting side for the second Test against the All Blacks on Saturday as they chase their first series win in New Zealand since 1994.

“It’s the best French team possible to win against the All Blacks,” coach Marc Lievremont said after naming the team Wednesday.

Lievremont has brought in the gifted Maxime Mermoz at centre to replace Mathieu Bastareaud, who played in the side that beat the All Blacks 27-22 in the first Test in Dunedin last Saturday.

Perpignan star Mermoz missed the first Test after joining the squad late with other players involved in the French domestic rugby final earlier this month.

“With everything he showed us this season with his club, Maxime can bring us something different,” Lievremont said.

Otherwise, the backline contains the same players as last week, with the coach saying he wanted to maintain continuity.

Two changes have been made in the forwards, with Sebastien Chabal coming in at lock for Pascal Pape and Nicolas Mas taking over at tighthead prop from Sylvain Marconnet.

Chabal could make a greater impact starting the game rather than coming off the bench as he did in the first Test, Lievremont said, and the bearded lock had impressed with a huge effort at training in the last two weeks.

Mas also missed out on the starting line-up in the first Test after playing for Perpignan in the French final but made his presence felt after coming off the bench in Dunedin.

“Nicolas played a good game when he replaced Sylvain Marconnet and Sylvain seemed a little tired this week,” the coach said.

Forwards Remy Martin and Damien Chouly both come onto the French reserve bench.

The team selection was based on having the fittest team available to chase the series victory, while keeping faith with most of the players who beat the All Blacks in Dunedin, Lievremont said.

Assistant coach Emile Ntamack said it was important for France to develop a team that could win regularly, rather than occasional one-off victories.

“The All Blacks’ pride has been hurt, so we are expecting a very difficult opposition on Saturday,” he said.

France (15-1)


Maxime Medard, Vincent Clerc, Maxime Mermoz, Damien Traille, Cedric Heymans, Francois Trinh-Duc, Julien Dupuy, Louis Picamoles, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Thierry Dusautoir (captain), Romain Millo-Chluski, Sebastien Chabal, Nicolas Mas, William Servat, Fabien Barcella.

Reserves: Dimitri Szarzewski, Thomas Domingo, Remy Martin, Damien Chouly, Dimitri Yachvili, Yannick Jauzion, Mathieu Bastareaud.

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