PARIS – France coach Guy Noves on Thursday said his players deserved a second chance after naming an unchanged XV for Saturday’s Test against South Africa at the Stade de France.
The only change from last Saturday’s 38-18 defeat to New Zealand is on the bench, where uncapped Bordeaux-Begles prop Sebastien Taofifenua replaces Clermont’s Raphael Chaume, who made his debut last week but is injured.
“This team has a potential that we weren’t able to see during their first Test,” said Noves.
“We weren’t going to throw the players to the dogs, some of whom were playing for the first time.
“I believe this team has the right to make amends in this second performance.”
Having given five players a first taste of international action last week, Noves has only one uncapped player, Taofifenua, in his match-day 23 this time.
Flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc keeps his place on the bench despite playing an hour for a French XV against a second-string All Blacks in Lyon on Tuesday, a 28-23 defeat.
Trinh-Duc had played only a handful of minutes last weekend against New Zealand.
“He played a good part of the match on Tuesday night. Essentially, he’s as battered as someone who’s played a match five days earlier,” said Noves.
“But I decided that, after having played just five minutes in the first match and three-quarters of the second, he could hold his place for the third Test.”
Trinh-Duc is the only player among those to have faced New Zealand last weekend and to tackle the Springboks on Saturday who also featured on Tuesday, when wing Gabriel Lacroix and second row Sekou Macalou both impressed.
“Between those (from Tuesday) who need to rest and those who need to make amends, I thought it was normal to give them a second chance,” added Noves.
France played three Tests away to South Africa in June, losing all three by more than 20 points.
South Africa have won the last five meetings between the teams and lead their overall head-to-head record 25-11, with six draws.
France’s last win against the Springboks dates back to 2009.
15 Nans Ducuing, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Judicael Cancoriet, 5 Paul Gabrillagues, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Jefferson Poirot.
Bench: 16 Clement Mayanadier, 17 Sebastien Taofifenua, 18 Daniel Kotze, 19 Paul Jedrasiak, 20 Anthony Jelonch, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Damian Penaud.