Rugby

Trinh-Duc handed France start

2015-08-14 19:11
Francois Trinh-Duc (Gallo Images)

Paris - Francois Trinh-Duc and Morgan Parra will be reunited at half-back for the first time in two-and-a-half years when Philippe Saint-Andre's France take on England at Twickenham in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match on Saturday.

Trinh-Duc and Parra, the preferred nine and ten partnership under previous French coach Marc Lievremont, last played together in February 2013 in the 23-13 Six Nations defeat to England - also at Twickenham.

"They used to play together, they are the benchmark and are experienced," said Saint-Andre who also announced that Clermont scrumhalf Parra will be the designated kicker.

Racing Metro hooker Dimitri Szarzewski has been selected as captain in the absence of regular skipper and Toulouse star Thierry Dusautoir, winning his 80th cap for Les Bleus in the process.

"Dimitri will wear the shirt with the rooster for the 80th time, he used to be a captain for Racing 92, he always gives 150% and that he is one of the leaders of this group," explained former Gloucester, Sale Sharks and Toulon coach Saint-Andre.

The match is the 100th Test between the two rivals and France, as expected, have gone with a largely experimental side with only five players surviving from their last Test - the final-day Six Nations defeat to England at Twickenham in March.

Only fullback Scott Spedding, second-row pair Alexandre Flanquart and Yoann Maestri, and props Nicolas Mas and Vincent Debaty remain from that 55-35 loss to Stuart Lancaster's men.

Saint Andre has opted for Castres' Remi Lamerat (six caps) and Alexandre Dumoulin of Racing (two caps) as a centre partnership with Bordeaux's Sofiane Guitoune and Racing's Brice Dulin - who normally operates as a fullback - on the wing.

"Brice (Dulin) can also play along the three-quarters, he played in this position a lot. Internationally, there are a lot of 15s who can play on the wing, like Ben Smith in New Zealand, and it can help that you have to deal with the high ball, too."

Meanwhile, Parra wins his 60th cap at scrumhalf, while Montpellier's Trinh-Duc makes his first international appearance for the French in 18 months.

In the forwards, it's an entire new back row with marauding Toulouse No 8 Louis Picamoles playing for the first time since June 2014.

Picamoles will be alongside Fulgence Ouedraogo (Montpellier) and Racing-bound Yannick Nyanga in the back row.

The only other change in the front row is Szarzewski's inclusion in place of Guilhem Guirado.

The match at Twickenham is the first of two warm-up games between the two rivals with England travelling to Paris on August 22.

Saint-Andre must then reduce his squad from 36 to 31 players by August 23.

France's last warm-up game is in Paris against Scotland on September 5 before they return to Twickenham to kick off their World Cup campaign against Italy on Saturday September 19.

Les Bleus will also play Romania, Canada and Ireland in Pool D.

Teams:

England

TBA

France

15-Scott Spedding, 14-Sofiane Guitoune, 13-Remi Lamerat, 12-Alexandre Dumoulin, 11-Brice Dulin, 10-Francois Trinh-Duc, 9-Morgan Parra, 8-Louis Picamoles, 7-Fulgence Ouedraogo, 6-Yannick Nyanga, 5-Yoann Maestri, 4-Alexandre Flanquart, 3-Nicolas Mas, 2-Dimitri Szarzewski, 1-Vincent Debaty

Substitutes: 16-Guilhem Guirado, 17-Xavier Chiocci, 18-Uini Atonio, 19-Sebastien Vahaamahina, 20-Loann Goujon, 21-Rory Kockott, 22-Remi Tales, 23-Gael Fickou

Read more on:    france  |  rwc 2015  |  rugby
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