Match Preview: France change five for All Blacks rematch

Benjamin Fall and Gaël Fickou have both been recalled by France head coach Jacques Brunel as two of five changes for the second Test against New Zealand.

Benjamin Fall and Gaël Fickou have both been recalled by France head coach Jacques Brunel as two of five changes for the second Test against New Zealand.

Maxime Médard drops to the bench and the injured Remy Grosso is absent for the match in Wellington with Mathieu Babillot, for his second cap, and Kélian Galletier brought into the back row.

Bernard le Roux starts in the second row with Kévin Gourdon moving to No.8 while hooker Pierre Bourgarit could make his international debut off the bench.

Babillot, Galletier and Fall were all unavailable last weekend due to their involvement in the Top 14 final where Castres overcame Montpellier.

Fall played four games of the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations with this set to be his second Test at full-back having started at 15 in defeat to Wales in March.

Fickou scored against Wales in his only start of the Championship and came off the bench in Les Bleus’ 52-11 defeat last weekend in Auckland.

Morgan Parra and Anthony Belleau start as the half-back pair with Mathieu Bastareaud captaining from outside centre alongside Geoffrey Doumayrou, Teddy Thomas completes the back line.   WHAT THEY SAID

“The new players will be fresh, bring enthusiasm and had good seasons for their clubs,” said Brunel.

Galletier said: “Their attack line is fast. We need to steal balls in order to organise our game.

“Our goal is to avoid their progression on the field, we need to be connected and make good choices.

“We must master two areas: our kicking and lost balls. After that, we will have control over our destiny.”   THE OPPOSITION

The All Blacks meanwhile, who trailed 11-8 at the break in the first Test, name an unchanged side for the second Test at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

“As we have a big focus right now on developing our game and working on our skillsets, connections and combinations, it isn’t beneficial to be making wholesale changes,” coach Steve Hansen said.

“Whilst we were really happy with the way we finished last weekend’s Test, we’re fully aware that we still have a lot of work to do over the rest of the Steinlager Series.

“The French would’ve taken a lot of confidence out of their first 50 minutes on the weekend and will be coming to play on Saturday night.”   KEY STAT

Steve Hansen’s side have won the last 12 meetings with Les Bleus – the visitors haven’t beaten the All Blacks since success in Dunedin back in 2009.   France team: 15. Benjamin Fall (Montpellier) 14. Teddy Thomas (Racing 92) 13. Mathieu Bastareaud (c) (RC Toulon) 12. Geoffrey Doumayrou (ASM Clermont Auvergne) 11. Gaël Fickou (Stade Toulousain) 10. Anthony Belleau (RC Toulon) 9. Morgan Parra (ASM Clermont Auvergne) 1. Dany Priso (Stade Rochelais) 2. Camille Chat (Racing 92) 3. Uini Atonio (Stade Rochelais) 4. Bernard le Roux (Racing 92) 5. Yoann Maestri (Stade Toulousain) 6. Mathieu Babillot (Castres Olympique) 7. Kélian Galletier (Montpellier) 8. Kévin Gourdon (Stade Rochelais)

Replacements: 16. Pierre Bourgarit (Stade Rochelais) 17. Cyril Baille (Stade Toulousain) 18. Cedate Gomes Sa (Racing 92) 19. Paul Gabrillagues (Stade Français) 20. Alexandre Lapandry (ASM Clermont Auvergne) 21. Baptiste Serin (Union Bordeaux-Bègles) 22. Jules Plisson (Stade Français) 23. Maxime Médard (Stade Toulousain)