France bring in their big guns for Boks

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 08:55
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: France made 10 changes to their starting XV for the second Test against South Africa, in Durban on Saturday.

The most significant of the changes - which see all the big guns from the Top14 finalists return to the team - is hooker and captain Guilhem Guirado, which reinstates the monster front row that has tormented teams through9out the Six Nations this year.

Other changes from last week's 14-37 loss to the Springboks in Pretoria include South African-born fullback Scott Spedding, centre Damian Penaud, flyhalf Francois Trinh Duc, scrumhalf Baptiste Serin, Louis Picamoles moving from flank to his preferred position at No.8), Kevin Gourdon in at flank, Romain Taofifenua coming in at No.5 lock and Yoann Maestri shifting to No.4 and prop Rabah Slimani.

The 20-year-old Penaud, who will make his Test debut, is rewarded for excellent performances during the closing stages of the domestic season with Top 14 champions Clermont.

He replaces Henry Chavancy.

"We are expecting him to live this adventure and become aware of the international level," commented Noves about Penaud, the son of former international Alain.

"He's a young player. We have the feeling, as with others, that he has talent. Now he must express it.

"Obviously, our severity with him will be a little less than with players who have been in the national set-up for some time," added the coach.

Trinh-Duc returns in place of Jules Plisson for the first time since breaking a forearm against Samoa last November in a 52-8 French triumph.

Like Trinh-Duc, Spedding, rested last Saturday after playing in the French Top 14 Final the previous weekend, gets a start, ahead of Brice Dulin.

Slimani is restored after a back injury sustained during preparations for the three-Test tour, which finishes on June 24 in Johannesburg.

France: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Damian Penaud, 12 Gaël Fickou, 11 Virimi Vakatawa, 10 Francois Trinh Duc, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Yacouba Camara, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Jefferson Poirot.
Replacements: 16 Clément Maynadier, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Uini Atonio, 19 Julien le Devedec, 20 Bernard le Roux, 21 Antoine DuPont, 22 Jean-Marc Doussain, 23 Nans Ducuing.

Date: Saturday, June 17
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 17.00 (17.00 French time, 15.00 GMT)
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Angus Gardner (Australia)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)