France to keep the strategy that worked against the All Blacks

2013-11-22 00:00

FRANCE coach Philippe Saint-André has stuck with what worked against the All Blacks and yesterday made just one change to his team for tomorrow night’s Test against the Springboks in Paris.

The French came agonisingly close to denying the All Blacks when they met a fortnight ago. They finally went down 26-19 but spent the last few minutes on the New Zealanders’ line and Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said this week he thought the French “were unlucky to not at least draw that Test”.

Saint-André’s only change is on the wing where Sofiane Guitoune replaces Maxime Medard.

French lock Yoann Maestri has been cleared to play after being sent off against the Tongans at the weekend with the disciplinary panel ruling that the red card was sufficient punishment for a striking offence.

Saint-André said yesterday he had wanted continuity in the team.

“We are getting ourselves ready for a huge challenge taking on the second best team in the world. The Springboks put a lot of intensity into their games and are very physical. It will be a top-class match.”

Former Sharks flyhalf Freddie Michalak has been named on the bench.

The Springboks have named a physical match squad with six forwards on the bench and Meyer said he wanted two flanks to cover for Francois Louw and Willem Alberts, who are recovering from injury.

Siya Kolisi provides open side back-up for Louw and Meyer has confirmed that he will be looking to use Sharks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit as cover for Alberts at blindside flank.

The 21-year-old Du Toit played all his junior rugby at blindside flank and he played a major role in that position when South Africa won the U20 World Cup last year.

“We are looking to Pieter-Steph to cover lock and blindside flank. He can definitely play both positions,” said Meyer.

“Willem [Alberts] puts his body on the line in every game and he does pick up a lot of injuries. I have been looking for a big, physical flank to play on the blindside.”

There is a strong feeling among the Springbok selectors that the two-metre, 115 kg Du Toit could develop into a superb blindside flank. His jumping ability would provide the Boks with a massive advantage at the tail of the lineout, but he is also mobile, offloads effectively in the tackle and is a powerful defender.

The Test kicks off at 10 pm (SA time) tomorrow.

France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Sofiane Guitoune, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Remi Tales, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Wenceslas Lauret, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Pape, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Yannick Forestier. Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Thomas Domingo, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 20 Yannick Nyanga, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Frederic Michalak, 23 Mathieu Bastareaud.

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