France v South Africa, Toulouse, November 13
France bulk up for Springboks clash
November 9, 2009
France's Yann David (right) and Maxime Mermoz pictured during a training session, France training camp, Marcoussis, France, November 9, 2009
Yann David (right) and Maxime Mermoz will form a new-look centre pairing against the Springboks on Friday night in Toulouse © Getty Images

France coach Marc Lievremont has bolstered his pack ahead the showdown with South Africa in Toulouse on Friday night.

Toulouse's Louis Picamoles will pack down at No.8 for his side's opening clash of the autumn with Biarritz's Imanol Harinordoquy switching to blindside flanker. Captain Thierry Dusautoir completes a formidable trio at openside as the hosts aim to shackle the world champions.

Stade Francais scrum-half Julien Dupuy will resume his partnership with Montpellier fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc with the duo having helped steer France to a memorable 27-22 victory over New Zealand in June. Lievremont has opted to make changes elsewhere with Biarritz's Damien Traille switching from centre to fullback and Perpignan's Maxim Mermoz and Toulouse's Yann David forming a new-look centre partnership.

"We picked a back-row that offers a lot of guarantees in terms of power and experience," Lievremont told reporters in Marcoussis. "Maxime is the in-form centre of the French championship but we had a long discussion before selecting Yann ahead of David Marty who is Mermoz's team mate with Perpignan. We went for the robustness of David because we think power will be important against the Springboks."

France: Damien Traille, Vincent Clerc, Yann David, Maxime Mermoz, Cedric Heymans, Francois Trinh-Duc, Julien Dupuy, Fabien Barcella, William Servat, Nicolas Mas, Lionel Nallet, Romain Millo-Chluski, Thierry Dusautoir (captain), Imanol Harinordoquy, Louis Picamoles

Replacements: Dimitri Szarzewski, Sylvain Marconnet, Sebastien Chabal, Julien Bonnaire, Morgan Parra, David Marty, Maxime Medard


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