UNDER-FIRE FRANCE coach Philippe Saint-André has made two changes to his starting team as les Bleus look to avoid a series whitewash against Australia.
The French were beaten 6-0 in last weekend’s second Test, while the first clash between the sides saw the Wallabies emerge as 50-23 victors. Saint-André’s side did improve in the second fixture, but he is now under pressure to inspire a win.
With that in mind, Stade Français’ Hugo Bonneval comes in on the left wing in place of Maxime Médard, while Fulgence Ouedraogo of Montpellier replaces Yannick Nyanga in the back row.
Ouedraogo’s inclusion in the number seven shirt means captain Thierry Dusautoir will wear six this weekend, with Saint-André opting to keep destructive No. 8 Louis Picamoles on the bench.
If France are to pull off a victory on Saturday in Sydney, it seems likely that centre pairing Mathieu Bastareaud and Wesley Fofana, as well as scrum-half Morgan Parra, will have vital roles to play.
Perhaps more crucially than the result, Saint-André needs to see tactical, technical and physical improvements from his side. With the 2015 World Cup beginning to loom, the former Toulon coach still hasn’t stamped any identifiable mark on this team.
Having taken the role in 2012, Saint-André has so far failed to bring about consistently strong performances from the French national team, with the perception of him in l’Hexagone increasingly negative.
France will compete in Pool D of the World Cup alongside Ireland.
France: Brice Dulin; Yoann Huget, Mathieu Bastareaud, Wesley Fofana, Hugo Bonneval; Rémi Talès, Morgan Parra; Alexandre Menini, Guilhem Guirado, Rabah Slimani; Alexandre Flanquart, Yoann Maestri; Thierry Dusautoir (capt.), Fulgence Ouedraogo, Damien Chouly.
Replacements: Christopher Tolofua, Vincent Debaty, Nicolas Mas, Bernard le Roux, Louis Picamoles, Yannick Nyanga, Maxime Machenaud, Rémi Lamerat.