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France keep faith with beaten side for Springboks clash

France manager Philippe Saint-Andre resisted any temptation to make wholesale changes to the side that lost to New Zealand when he named his team to face South Africa in their final test of the year at the Stade de France on Saturday.
French coach Philippe Saint-Andre. Net photo.
French coach Philippe Saint-Andre. Net photo.

International Rugby
Saturday
Italy     vs     Argentina    3:45pm SS1
France     vs     South Africa    9pm SS1
Sunday
Ireland     vs     New Zealand    3:45pm SS1

France manager Philippe Saint-Andre resisted any temptation to make wholesale changes to the side that lost to New Zealand when he named his team to face South Africa in their final test of the year at the Stade de France on Saturday.

Sofiane Guitoune, who replaces Maxime Medard on the wing, is the only change to the line-up beaten 26-19 by the All Blacks 12 days ago.

For the third match in succession Saint-Andre, who has tried out 10 different halfback combinations since he was appointed after the 2011 World Cup final, will pair scrumhalf Morgan Parra and flyhalf Remi Tales.

Saint-Andre had overhauled the team beaten by New Zealand for last weekend’s Tonga test, which France won 38-18 with Guitoune scoring an early try to celebrate his first cap.

“He is young and cheeky. He will probably have (South African winger) Bryan Habana in front of him so it’s up to him to show he’s up for the task,” Saint-Andre said.

France have had a rough year, losing four times in a row against New Zealand, winning only two from their 10 outings. “It’s going to be a huge fight against the second best team in the world,” said Saint-Andre.

The manager also kept faith in his 8-9-10-15 backbone with fullback Brice Dulin and number eight Damien Chouly handed a third consecutive start.

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