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Saint-Andre wields heavy axe

Thu, 20 Jun 2013 09:18
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This tour allowed us to see the future of French rugby
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France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has replaced more than half the side that caved in against the All Blacks (0-30) last week, in a desperate attempt to avoid a series whitewash in the final Test in New Plymouth on Saturday.

There are eight changes to the starting side, six on form and two to replace the injured Louis Picamoles and Frederic Michalak.

"We just tried to bring in very fresh guys and keep some experienced players," Saint-Andre said, noting the All Blacks have been beefed up with the established halfback pairing of Dan Carter (No.10) and Piri Weepu (No.9) restored.

"With Louis Picamoles and Fred Michalak injured, we had to find some solutions. The All Blacks brought back a lot of experience with the scrumhalf and flyhalf."

However, to combat the Carter-Weepu partnership, Saint-Andre has gone for novices Jean-Marc Doussain, the Toulouse scrumhalf, and Castres pivot Remi Tales who have only three caps between them.

France club champions Castres also provides Marc Andreu on the wing and Brice Dulin at fullback with Maxime Medard unable to make the bench.

The shakeup in the forwards has Benjamin Kayser at hooker, Alexandre Flanquart at lock and Antonie Claassen and Damien Chouly in the back row which Saint-Andre expects will improve line-out throwing and jumping.

The All Blacks have already won the three-Test series after winning the first in Auckland 23-13 before commanding 30-0 in Christchurch a week later.

The final Test "will be a great opportunity for some guys to have a go against the best team in the world and also to show they can be a first choice for the Tests in November", Saint-Andre said.

"This tour allowed us to see the future of French rugby. There have been eight new capped players in this tour."

France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Marc Andreu, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Yohann Huget, 10 Remi Tales, 9 Jean Marc Doussain, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Damien Chouly, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Alexandre Flanquart, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Luc Ducalon, 19 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 20 Bernard le Roux, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Camille Lopez, 23 Mathieu Bastareaud.

Date: Saturday June 22
Venue: Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
Kick-off: 19.35 (09.35 French time; 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Alain Rolland (Ireland)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

AFP

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