Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New Caledonian rugby star in French line-up against New Zealand

                               Benjamin Fall and other French rugby players speak out. 

NEW CALEDONIAN lock Sébastien Vahaamahina, 21, will play his fourth rugby test for France in the start of the the three-match series against the New Zealand All Blacks at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday.

Sébastien Vahaamahina ... test debut.
The Perpignan player toured Argentina last year but this is his first run-on test.

Bordeaux-Bègles fly-half Camille Lopez - who almost singlehandedly demolished European champions Toulouse 41-0 in February will also make his test debut.

Coach Philippe Saint-André has also handed Perpignan wing Adrien Planté his first international start while on the other wing Maxime Médard returns to win his 33rd cap, almost four years to the day since scoring the winning try in Dunedin - the last time France beat the All Blacks in New Zealand.

Les Bleus will have a fresh faced half-back pairing as Racing Metro scrum-half Maxime Machenaud joins Lopez in the starting XV. Both are just 24.

Luc Ducalcon is at tighthead prop in the absence of stalwart Nicolas Mas, who is still recovering from injury.

South African-born Clermont prop Daniel Kotze and young Stade Français lock Alexandre Flanquart could also make their debuts off the bench.

Toulon playmaker Frédéric Michalak features among the replacements along with club team-mate Maxime Mermoz following their late arrival due to the Top 14 Final, stunningly lost to Castres 19-14 last Saturday.

France were pipped 8-7 by New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final at Eden Park in 2011.- Planet Rugby

France: 15 Yoann Huget, 14 Adrien Plante, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Maxime Medard, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (c), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Thomas Domingo

Replacements: 16 Guilhem Guirado, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Daniel Kotze, 19 Akexandre Flanquart, 20 Yannick Nyanga, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Frederic Michalak, 23 Maxime Mermoz

France pick rookie at flyhalf

Featured in the video below - Camille Lopez in action demolishing Toulon in February.

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