DURBAN – A few tactical changes, as well as some injury enforced ones, have seen French coach Guy Noves not mix things up too much as they go in hunt of a win that would stop a series whitewash by the Springboks in Johannesburg.
Veteran Francois Trinh-Duc is relegated to the bench as flyhalf from the first Test, Jules Plisson starts alongside the exciting talent that is Baptiste Serin at scrumhalf. This is a relatively untested pairing as the two have only played together once for
Another returnee to the third Test is fullback Brice Dulin who comes in for Scott Spedding, the South African-born former Shark who scored on his old stomping ground in
Finally, there is a change at wing as Yoann Huget has not recovered from concussion symptoms and a bad cut in his mouth.
He is replaced by Nans Ducuing.
Ducuing came on early in
“His performance convinced me,” said Noves. “When a player stands in opposition to a 130kg player (Oosthuizen), risking his health and the possibility of 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 remains the same as hulking No 8 Louis Picamoles has recovered from a knee injury that saw him off early in
Noves said he favoured continuity as Les Bleus hope for one last big performance to slow a rebuilding Springbok side.
“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, It is also necessary to take account of the injured players,” he added, “particularly Huget and prop Eddy Ben Arous.”
Changes on the bench see prop Xavier Chiocci come in for Ben Arous, and lock Paul Jedrasiak is preferred to Julien le Devedec.
Flank Loann Goujon also comes in for Bernard le Roux, scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud takes over from Antoine Dupont, Trinh-Duc features instead of Jean-Marc Doussain and Vincent Rattez takes the place of Ducuing.
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.
Bench: 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.