Rugby Championship

SA-born Le Roux starts at lock for France

2018-06-14 06:32
Bernard le Roux (Getty Images)

Wellington - France coach Jacques Brunel made five changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s second Test here against the All Blacks.

Up front, South African-born Bernard le Roux takes over at lock from Paul Gabrillagues and Kelian Galletier and Mathieu Babillot move into the loose trio in place of Judicael Cancoriet and Fabien Sanconnie.

The 31-Test capped Le Roux normally plays flank, but his last three Tests have come as a lock replacement.

In the backline, Benjamin Fall will play at fullback in place of Maxime Medard and Gael Fickou replaces the injured Remy Grosso on the left wing.

Galletier and Fall played for Montpelier and Babillot played for Castres in the French Top 14 club final last weekend, making them unavailable for the first Test. Babillot's selection sees Kevin Gourdon to move from flank to No 8.

Grosso, who was France's only try-scorer in last weekend’s 52-11 loss in the first Test in Auckland, suffered a double fracture of the cheekbone when pinioned in a tackle by All Blacks flank Sam Cane and prop Ufa Tu'ungafasi. He has returned to France while Tu'ungafasi has been issued with an official warning by World Rugby for his part in the tackle.

Gabrillagues was wrongly yellow-cared for a high tackle during the second half of the first Test when the scores were tied at 11-11 and that allowed New Zealand to take control.

Teams:

New Zealand

15 Jordie Barrett; 14 Ben Smith, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Rieko Ioane; 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith; 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire; 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock; 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tui'inukuake, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Ngani Laumape

France

15 Benjamin Fall, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud (captain), 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Gael Fickou, 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Kelian Gourdon, 7 Kélian Galletier, 6 Mathieu Babillot, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Bernard le Roux, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Dany Priso

Substitutes: 16 Pierre Bourgarit, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Cedate Gomes Sa, 19 Paul Gabrillagues, 20 Alexandre Lapandry, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Maxime Médard

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