June International Tours

Nicolas Mas to lead France against Australia

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France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has named his team to play the opening Test match against Australia’s Wallabies with Nicolas Mas captaining the team.

Saint-Andre has given veteran captain Thierry Dusautoir given more time to return to full fitness and opted to start with 34-year-old Montpellier’s prop Mas as the team’s leader.

“Thierry is still not 100 percent after his biceps injury,” in January, Saint-Andre said.

“We preferred to give him another week to fully recover because we need players at 100 percent.”

Dusautoir had nonetheless returned to top level competition with Toulouse in early May to play the last two games of the season.

Rated among the best flankers in the game, he won the 2011 player of the year award for an inspirational display in Les Bleus’ 8-7 World Cup final loss to the All Blacks.

In another surprise, the powerful Louis Picamoles was also left out and Damien Chouly given the number eight jersey.

Clermont’s Chouly will line up in an experimental back row with Bernard Le Roux and Fulgence Ouedraogo.

As expected Toulon’s Frederic Michalak returns to the starting line up at fly-half for the first time since France toured Australia a year ago.

“We don’t have any pressure at all, we just have a go and enjoy the moment Saturday,” Saint-Andre said.

France have not won in Australia for 24 years and Saint-Andre has said victory over the third-ranked Wallabies would be psychologically important for them 15 months before the World Cup.

France

Hugo Bonneval, Yoann Huget, Gael Fickou, Wesley Fofana, Felix Le Bourhis, Frederic Michalak, Maxime Machenaud, Bernard Le Roux, Damien Chouly, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Yoann Maestri, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Nicolas Mas (capt), Guilhem Guirado, Thomas Domingo

Replacements:Christopher Tolofua, Vincent Debaty, Rabah Slimani, Alexandre Flanquart, Antoine Burban, Morgan Parra, Remi Lamerat, Brice Dulin

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