Goujon replaces Chouly in only France change

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 10:17
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Flank Loann Goujon replaces Damien Chouly in coach Guy Noves's solitary change to his France team announced on Friday to face Scotland in the Six Nations on Sunday.

France made a positive start to their tournament campaign last week but still went down 16-19 to England at Twickenham and Noves has kept faith with almost his entire starting line-up.

It means young Bordeaux-Begles scrumhalf Baptise Serin, who only made his France debut in June, retains his place ahead of Maxime Machenaud. 

Goujon, 27, will win his 15th cap as he replaces veteran Chouly, 31, who drops to the bench.

It's Goujon's first start since he was injured in France's 52-8 win over Samoa at the beginning of November. 

Although losing to last season's Grand Slam winners a week ago, France posted some impressive statistics during the match, making more yards, more offloads and beating more defenders than England over the 80 minutes.

All that was lacking was points on the board and Noves has retained 21 of his matchday 23, the only other changes seeing forwards Christopher Tolofua and Julien Le Devedec come onto the bench in place of hooker Clement Maynadier and lock Arthur Iturria.

"It's normal [not to make many changes] if changing everything means that we're not satisfied with what happened - when you lose a match by three points in England in the last nine minutes," said Noves.

"For the most part the lads delivered, even though once again we need to develop more character to finish matches in the right way." 

Noves said Goujon would give his side more power.

"We wanted a little more density in the pack, although they're two very similar players," said Noves.

"The aim is to be a bit more powerful."

Noves keeps faith with tighthead Uini Atonio despite the New Zealand-born front-rower being penalised several times against England.

His second half replacement Rabah Slimani made an instant impact and scored France's only try of the game.

"We wanted to see if Uini has understood what we've told him and whether he'll perform differently. We wanted to offer him an olive branch," Noves said of the 26-year-old former Samoa youth international.

France: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Noa Nakaitaci, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Remi Lamerat, 11 Virimi Vakatawa, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Loann Goujon, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Cyril Baille.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Rabah Slimani, 18 Xavier Chiocci, 19 Julien Le Devedec, 20 Damien Chouly, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Jean-Marc Doussain, 23 Yoann Huget.

Date: Sunday, February 12
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 16.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Johnny Lacey (Ireland), Luke Pearce (England)
TMO: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)

Agence France-Presse

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