Plisson back at flyhalf for Ellis Park Test

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 09:27
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: France have made three changes for the dead-rubber final Test against South African in Johannesburg Saturday, including recalling flyhalf Jules Plisson.

The Springboks took an uncatchable 2-0 lead in the series last weekend.

Dropped after the first Test loss, Plisson replaces Francois Trinh-Duc and partners retained scrumhalf Baptiste Serin.

Plisson and Serin have started together only once - in a 19-30 loss away to Argentina last year.

"Why this change? Why not. We saw a little bit of everyone, some more than others, and we think it is the right change at the moment," coach Guy Noves said.

Another change sees Brice Dulin, axed after the 14-37 first Test defeat in Pretoria, return at fullback in place of South Africa-born Scott Spedding.

Completing the changes to the starting side is the inclusion of Nans Ducuing on the right wing.

He takes over from Yoann Huget, who suffered concussion during the 15-37 second Test defeat in Durban last Saturday and injured his lip.

"His performance convinced me," said Noves, referring to how Ducuing fared when he replaced Huget early in the second Test.

"When a player stands in opposition to a 130-kilogram player, risking his health and finishing in a wheelchair, I am not certain that one of us, including myself, would have tried to stop him.

"This state of mind pleased me."

The pack which started in Durban, including skipper and hooker Guilhem Guirado, has been given a vote of confidence.

Star No.8 Louis Picamoles, forced to retire injured last weekend during the opening half, has recovered.

Noves said he favoured continuity as Les Bleus seek to avoid a series whitewash.

"After the first two Tests, we were able to evaluate a little the state of the damage.

"Looking at the third Test, it will be interesting to see if the work of three to four weeks will bring something," he said.

"It is also necessary to take account of the injured players," he added, particularly Huget and prop Eddy Ben Arous.

France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Nans Ducuing, 13 Damian Penaud, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Virimi Vakatawa. 10 Jules Plisson, 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 Clement Maynadier, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Uini Atonio, 19 Paul Jedrasiak, 20 Loann Goujon, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Vincent Rattez.

Date: Saturday, June 24
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 17.00 (17.00 France time; 15.00 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

AFP