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Maestri to front up for France

Thu, 15 Nov 2012 12:46
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I have already given my agreement for the roof to be closed
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France coach Philippe Saint-Andre on Thursday made only one change from the team that beat Australia last weekend, bringing in second row Yoann Maestri for the Test against Argentina on Saturday.

Maestri's return, after a back injury ruled him out of selection for the 33-6 victory over the Wallabies, means Jocelino Suta, who took his place to win his first cap, is relegated to the replacements bench.

Argentina come into the match in Lille, northeast France, having played 12 Tests since June against France's three, which Saint-Andre said would make it a tough test.

"It's a key match for us. We know the Argentines. They've perhaps never been playing as well in November than this year," the French coach told a news conference at the national rugby centre in Marcoussis, near Paris.

"We want to see whether we're able to win two very, very high-level matches in succession. It's an enormous challenge for the staff and the players.

"In French rugby we are used to producing great performances worth 18 out of 20 and to follow up with an eight out of 20.

"What we are aiming to do now is to be more consistent - to put in a good week's training and not to get carried away. To reproduce the same physicality and the same realism."

Saint Andre also said he was in favour of closing the roof in Lille's brand new stadium, which will be hosting a Test match for the first time.

"The Argentinians will first have to agree to it, but for my part I have already given my agreement for the roof to be closed.

"They tell me that the atmosphere in Lille with the roof closed is exceptional and we need the public to get fully behind us."

France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Wesley Fofana, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Vincent Clerc, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Pape (captain), 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Yannick Forestier.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Thomas Domingo, 18 Vincent Debaty, 19 Jocelino Suta, 20 Damien Chouly, 21 Morgan Parra, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Yoann Huget.

Date: Saturday, November 18
Venue: Grand Stade Lille Metropole, Lille
Kick-off: 21.00 (20.00 GMT)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), David Changleng (Scotland)
TMO: Carlo Damasco (Italy)

AFP

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