New Zealand v France, Westpac Stadium
Lievremont changes three for second Test
June 17, 2009
France fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc will be out to inflict more damage on the All Blacks this weekend © Getty Images
France coach Marc Lievremont has maintained his reputation as a man willing to experiment after naming three changes to his side to face New Zealand in the second Test at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.
The French are within touching distance of a series victory on New Zealand soil after their 27-22 triumph in Dunedin last weekend, but that has not prevented the mercurial Lievremont from tinkering with his squad.
The former flanker has made one change to his backline and two to his tight-five, with Perpignan centre Maxime Mermoz stepping in to the side in place of Mathieu Bastareaud, Nicolas Mas replacing Sylvain Marconnet in the front-row and Sebastien Chabal replacing Pascal Pape in the engine-room.
Flankers Remy Martin and Damien Chouly step on to the bench for the game, where the French will be up against a New Zealand side that has also been altered in the wake of a humbling first Test of the season.
Leicester scrum-half Julien Dupuy will win his second cap alongside Francois Trinh-Duc, while the pacy back three of Maxime Medard, Cedric Heymans and Vincent Clerc also remains intact. Louis Picamoles, Fulgence Ouedraogo and Thiery Dusautoir also retain their places in the back-row after comprehensively out-playing their opposite numbers last weekend.
The French will be hoping for a kinder reaction from the home fans in Wellington after their victory in Dunedin was greeted by bottles - often full or half-full - being pelted at them by the crowd at Carisbrook.
"After the game they threw some bottles at us when we just wanted to say thank you to our fans," lock Chabal said."It was quite bizarre because normally the crowd is quite respectful but during the game they start to boo when our kicker was kicking."
The incident further dented the reputation of the Carisbrook supporters, who gained notoriety when they booed the All Blacks off the field following a narrow defeat of Ireland in 2002.
"I thought the public here was a bit more respectable," fly-half Trinh-Duc said."We didn't steal this game. We had a good performance."
France: Maxime Medard, Vincent Clerc, Maxime Mermoz, Damien Traille, Cedric Heymans, Francois Trinh-Duc, Julien Dupuy, Fabien Barcella, William Servat, Nicolas Mas, Sebastien Chabal, Romain Millo-Chluski, Thierry Dusautoir (capt), Fulgence Ouedraogo, Louis Picamoles
Replacements: Dimitri Szarzewski, Thomas Domingo, Remy Martin, Damien Chouly, Dimitri Yachvili, Yannick Jauzion, Mathieu Bastareaud.