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Guy Noves Unchanged France deserve second chance, says France coach

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France coach Guy Noves on Thursday said his players deserved a "second chance" after naming an unchanged XV for Saturday's Test against South Africa at the Stade de France.

France's coach Guy Noves announces in Marcoussis on November 16, 2017 the starting XV for the November 18 international rugby union Test match against South Africa play

France's coach Guy Noves announces in Marcoussis on November 16, 2017 the starting XV for the November 18 international rugby union Test match against South Africa

(AFP/File)

France coach Guy Noves on Thursday said his players deserved a "second chance" after naming an unchanged XV for Saturday's Test against South Africa at the Stade de France (kick-off 1945GMT).

The only change from last Saturday's 38-18 defeat to New Zealand is on the bench where uncapped Bordeaux-Begles prop Sebastien Taofifenua replaces Clermont's Raphael Chaume, who was injured on his debut last week.

"This team has a potential that we weren't able to see during their first Test," said Noves.

"We weren't going to throw to the dogs players some of whom were playing for the first time.

"I believe this team has the right to make amends in this second performance."

Having given five players a first taste of international action last week, Noves has only one uncapped player, Taofifenua, in his matchday 23 this time.

It means fly-half Anthony Belleau, centre Geoffrey Doumayrou, flanker Paul Gabrillagues and lock Judicael Cancoriet all earn a second cap despite relatively indifferent debuts last week.

Fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc keeps his place on the bench despite playing an hour for a French XV against a second-string All Blacks in Lyon on Tuesday, a 28-23 defeat.

Trinh-Duc had played only a handful of minutes last weekend against New Zealand.

"He played a good part of the match on Tuesday night. Essentially he's as battered as someone who's played a match five days earlier," said Noves.

"But I decided that, after having played just five minutes in the first match and three-quarters of the second, he could hold his place for the third Test."

Trinh-Duc is the only player among those to have faced New Zealand last weekend and to tackle the Springboks on Saturday who also featured on Tuesday, when wing Gabriel Lacroix and second row Sekou Macalou both impressed.

'Need to make amends'

"Between those (from Tuesday) who need to rest and those who need to make amends, I thought it was normal to give them a second chance," added Noves.

Mathieu Bastareaud is retained at inside centre after a strong showing last week in his first France appearance for two years.

The 29-year-old Toulon midfielder had not played since France's 62-13 humiliation at the hands of New Zealand in the 2015 World Cup quarter-finals.

The squad announcement came just 24 hours after France won the right to host the 2023 World Cup, beating favourites South Africa in a run-off.

"For the young or the old ones who've done so much hard work it's amazing," said Noves.

"It's a fantastic reward for French rugby and all those who sweated to achieve this result.

"Yes, I'm delighted about what comes next."

France played three Tests away to South Africa in June, losing all three by more than 20 points.

South Africa have won the last five meetings between the teams and lead their overall head-to-head record 25-11, with six draws.

France's last win against the Springboks dates back to 2009.

Team (15-1)

Nans Ducuing; Teddy Thomas, Geoffrey Doumayrou, Mathieu Bastareaud, Yoann Huget; Anthony Belleau, Antoine Dupont; Louis Picamoles, Kevin Gourdon, Judicael Cancoriet; Paul Gabrillagues, Sebastien Vahaamahina; Rabah Slimani, Guilhem Guirado (capt), Jefferson Poirot

Replacements: Clement Maynadier, Sebastien Taofifenua, Daniel Kotze, Paul Jedrasiak, Anthony Jelonch, Baptiste Serin, Francois Trinh-Duc, Damian Penaud

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