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Rugby | International Rugby

Loose forward revamp as France change five

France have made five changes and a loose forward shake up but could find no room for veteran Wesley Fofana as they look to restore some dignity in the second test against New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday.

Defensive lapses by the loose forwards in the heavy 52-11 defeat in Auckland last weekend have forced coach Jacques Brunel to rush late arrivals Kelian Galletier and Mathieu Babillot straight into the starting line up.

They replace Judicael Cancoriet and Fabien Sanconnie, while Kevin Gourdon, who started on the flank in Auckland, moves to the back row.

There are two backline changes with Benjamin Fall coming in at fullback for Maxime Medard while Gael Fickou replaces injured wing Remy Grosso.

The experienced Fofana, whose last test was in November 2016, has trained freely with the squad this week after missing the first test in Auckland last weekend because of injury.

But Brunel has retained Geoffrey Doumayrou to partner captain Mathieu Bastareaud in the centres.

Galletier and Babillot were late arrivals in New Zealand after playing in the Top 14 final between Castres and Montpellier two weeks ago along with Fall who starts at fullback.

Teams (15-1): Ben Fall; Teddy Thomas, Mathieu Bastareaud, Geoffrey Doumayrou, Gael Fickou; Anthony Belleau, Morgan Parra; Kevin Gourdon, Kelian Galletier, Mathieu Babillot; Yoann Maestri, Bernard Le Roux; Uini Atonio, Camille Chat, Dany Priso.

Replacements: Pierre Bougarit, Cyril Baille, Cedate Gomes Sa, Paul Gabrillagues, Alexandre Lapandry, Baptiste Serin, Jules Plisson, Maxime Medard.


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