Saint-Andre names two rookies

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 19:54
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French coach Philippe Saint-Andre has named two rookies for the first Test against Argentina.

French coach Philippe Saint-Andre has named two rookies in his team for the first of two Tests against Argentina, in Cordoba on Saturday.

Agen fullback Brice Dulin and Biarritz prop Yvan Watremez will make their debuts for France.

Asked why he is not using the tour for experimentation, Saint-Andre spoke of the need for consistency.

"We wanted to build on the foundation laid in the Six Nations," he said, adding: "It was important to have continuity through the group of new players that took to the field earlier this year.

"We need consistency because we need to win games to climb up the IRB rankings."

The IRB rankings at the end of the year will be used as seeding positions for the 2015 World Cup and the next six months' internationals now carry extra value.

Saint-André also named three uncapped players on the bench - 18-year-old Toulouse hooker Christopher Tolofua, his cousin, Perpignan lock Romain Taofifenua, as well as Agen scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud.

Sharks playmaker Frederic Michalak will play off the bench.

In the absence of regular skipper Thierry Dusautoir - who has been rested along with a handful of other senior players - veteran Stade Français lock Pascal Pape will captain the side.

The coach said he expects great things of the rookie Dulin, and Clermont youngster Jean Marcellin Buttin in the back three.

"They are two good players under the high ball, but we wanted Dulin at the back for the quality of his kicking game," Saint-Andre said.

"Dulin has shown us he can be a sparkling player, and it is up to him to be as neat and coherent as possible."

Asked if he felt it was a risk to give Watremez his debut against renowned scrummagers such as the Pumas, but he said he has faith in the youngster.

The coach said they could have named an extra forward on the bench, as cover for the front row, but ultimately Vincent Debaty can cover two positions - loosehead and tighthead prop.

France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Jean-Marcellin Buttin, 13 Wesley Fofana, 12 Florian Fritz, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 7 Louis Picamoles, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Pape (captain), 3 David Attoub, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Yvan Watremez.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Romain Taofifenua, 19 Alexandre Lapandry, 20 Maxime Machenaud, 21 Frederic Michalak, 22 Maxime Mermoz.

Date: Saturday, June 16
Venue: Estadio Mario Alberto Kempes, Córdoba
Kick-off: 18.10 (21.10 GMT)
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)