South Africa v France, Cape Town, June 12
Lievremont names strong starting line-up
June 8, 2010
Biarritz flanker Wencelslas Lauret vies with Toulouse's defence during the Heineken Cup final between Biarritz andToulouse, Stade de France, Paris, May 22, 2010
Wenceslas Lauret gets his chance at flanker © Getty Images

French coach Marc Lievremont has named a strong starting line-up to face the Springboks in Cape Town on Saturday.

Exciting young Biarritz flank Wenceslas Lauret is set to make his debut in a new-look back-row after impressing during his side's superb Heineken Cup run.

Lauret displaces powerhouse Toulouse back-row Louis Picamoles, who was expected to start in the absence of regular No.8 Imanol Harinordoquay, out with the rib injury he suffered in the Heineken Cup. Lauret will start in the No.7 shirt, with Julien Bonnaire at eight and captain Thierry Dusautoir on the other flank.

"Wenceslas is very young but also a good footballer and a good defender," Lievremont told Reuters. "He has impressed in training and we expect a lot from him."

Lievremont said his selection was aimed at nullifying South Africa's strength in the loose forwards, an area he expects to have a crucial bearing on the outcome of the game.

"The Springboks build their rugby around their back row, so we wanted a more balanced back row with runners as well as tacklers," he said. "I was expecting a bit more from Louis during the season, which is why I'm starting with him on the bench and using him as an impact player. He's still young and we're expecting him to react positively to this non-selection by raising his game."

Along with Imanol Harinordoquay, France will be without some of their big names on tour. Explosive centre Mathieu Bastareaud is out with a groin injury and Yannick Jauzion is also missing. But Lievremont expects the midfield pairing of Maxime Mermoz and David Marty will have no problem in coping as they play their club rugby together at Perpignan.

Lievremont also said he expected a much improved Springbok side from the one which scraped past Wales last Saturday, and a "fresher and better" team than the one they easily beat in Toulouse last year. The match is billed as a contest between the champions of their respective hemispheres, and the outcome could hold special significance going into next year's World Cup.

France: C Poitrenaud (Toulouse), V Clerc (Toulouse), D Marty (Perpignan), M Mermoz (Perpignan), A Rougerie (Clermont Auvergne), F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), M Parra (Bourgoin), T Domingo (Clermont Auvergne), D Szarzewski (Stade Francais), N Mas (Perpignan), L Nallet (Racing Metro), R Millo-Chluski (Toulouse), T Dusautoir (Toulouse, capt), W Lauret (Biarritz), J Bonnaire (Clermont Auvergne)

Replacements: G Guirado (Perpignan), J Baptiste Poux (Toulouse), J Pierre (Clermont Auvergne), L Picamoles (Toulouse), D Yachvili (Biarritz), D Skrela (Toulouse), M Andreu (Castres), L Ducalcon (Castres)


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