France ring the changes for Durban

Scott Spedding (Gallo Images)
Scott Spedding (Gallo Images)

Durban - France coach Guy Noves made eight changes on Thursday to the starting team for the second Test against South Africa Saturday in Durban, with young centre Damian Penaud debuting.

Penaud, 20, is rewarded for excellent performances during the closing stages of the domestic season with Top 14 champions Clermont. He replaces Henry Chavancy.

There is a new half-back partnership, Francois Trinh-Duc (flyhalf) and Baptiste Serin (scrumhalf) from that which started in a 37-14 first Test loss last Saturday in Pretoria.

Tighthead prop Rabah Slimani, hooker and captain Guilhem Guirado, second row Romain Taofifenua, flank Kevin Gourdon and fullback Scott Spedding return.

"We are expecting him to live this adventure and become aware of the international level," commented Noves about Penaud, the son of former international Alain.

"He's a young player. We have the feeling, as with others, that he has talent. Now he must express it.

"Obviously, our severity with him will be a little less than with players who have been in the national set-up for some time," added the coach.

A couple of experienced forwards, No 8 Louis Picamoles and lock Yoann Maestri, keep their place after starting at Loftus Versfeld stadium last weekend.

Trinh-Duc returns in place of Jules Plisson for the first time since breaking a forearm against Samoa last November in a 52-8 French triumph.

Like Trinh-Duc, Spedding, rested last Saturday after playing in the French Top 14 final the previous weekend, gets a start, ahead of Brice Dulin.

Slimani is restored after a back injury sustained during preparations for the three-Test tour, which finishes on June 24 in Johannesburg.

Kick-off is at 17:05.


South Africa



15 Scott Spedding, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Damian Penaud, 12 Gaël Fickou, 11 Virimi Vakatawa, 10 François Trinh-Duc, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kévin Gourdon, 6 Yacouba Camara, 5 Romain Taofifeuna, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Jefferson Poirot

Substitutes: 16 Clément Maynadier, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Uini Atonio, 19 Julien le Devedec, 20 Bernard le Roux, 21 Antoine Dupont, 22 Jean-Marc Doussain, 23 Nans Ducuing

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