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Argentina v France - Teams and Prediction

FIRST TEST PREVIEW: Scrumhalf Baptiste Serin will skipper a new-look France team with eight uncapped players for Saturday’s international against Argentina in Mendoza.

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Without senior players such as Antoine Dupont, Romain Ntamack, Gregory Alldritt and Gael Fickou, coach Fabien Galthie has rung the changes for Tests against the World Cup semifinalists on July 6 and July 13.

“A tour is a growth accelerator,” said Galthie.

“It’s a big challenge for us, for the players. It’s the best team of the moment, taking into account the context and the choices.”

Six newcomers have made the starting XV with a further two on the replacements bench.

Pau fullback Theo Attissogbe, 19, and Stade Francais wing Lester Etien, 29, have made the cut along with 28-year-old Toulon centre Antoine Frisch.

La Rochelle’s Oscar Jegou, 21, Racing 92’s Jordan Joseph, 23, and Pau’s Hugo Auradou, 20, will also start.

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Two more rookies could also discover international level off the bench – Lyon lock Mickael Guillard, 23, and 20-year-old Montpellier flank Lenni Nouchi.

Toulon scrumhalf Serin, capped 44 times, is the most experienced of the 42 players called up for the tour.

The 30-year-old has not worn the jersey since a 34-17 victory against Fiji in a World Cup warm-up in France last August.

His last start for France dates back to November 28, 2020 – a 36-5 victory over Italy.

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“He’s the most experienced player,” said Galthie.

“He’s coming off a very good season with his club. For us, he’s an essential player in leadership, in running the game and in experience.

“It allows the other players to concentrate on performance. It’s really a team that has almost zero collective experience.”

La Rochelle loose forward Judicael Cancoriet, 28, returns six years after the last of his four caps, a heavy defeat to the All Blacks at Eden Park.

Only La Rochelle prop Georges-Henri Colombe, 26, and Stade Francais fullback Leo Barre, 21, with two caps each, played in France’s last match, a 33-31 Six Nations win over England.

“It’s a great moment of personal development,” said Galthie.

“From previous tours, in Australia, in Japan, some ‘premium’ players were born. I’m willing to bet that five or six players will be ‘premium’ for future years. I’m sure we have some gems here.”

Galthie is expecting a “combative” Argentina.

“It’s a team which, culturally, has a fighting spirit. Very solid in the scrum phases, in the ruck phases. It’s a very tough team.”

Players to watch

For Argentina: Wing Bautista Delguy will make his first international appearance since November 2022 having missed out on World Cup selection. The other new faces in the backline from their last outing in the World Cup include fullback Martin Bogado, centre Matias Moroni and scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou. Meanwhile, Argentina head coach Felipe Contepomi has selected a dynamic back row in the form of Joaquin Oviedo, Marcos Kremer and Pablo Matera.

For France: There are plenty of fresh faces in Fabien Galthie’s selection, but they also pack a punch. Fullback Leo Barre is one of them. He has the speed and guile to unlock defences. Pau’s 19-year-old fullback Theo Attissogbe gets a chance on the wing and he could be lethal out wide when given enough space. France will also be looking to La Rochelle’s No.8 Oscar Jegou to bring some physicality to the pack against the Argentinian stalwarts.

Prediction

@rugby365com: Argentina by 14 points.

Teams:

Argentina: 15 Martin Bogado, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Joaquin Oviedo, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Lucas Paulos, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Thomas Gallo.
Replacements: 16 Ignacio Ruiz, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Lucio Sordoni, 19 Franco Molina, 20 Bautista Pedemonte, 21 Lautaro Bazan Velez, 22 Tomas Albornoz, 23 Matias Orlando.

France: 15 Leo Barre, 14 Theo Attissogbe, 13 Emilien Gailleton, 12 Antoine Frisch, 11 Lester Etien, 10 Antoine Hastoy, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Oscar Jegou, 7 Jordan Joseph, 6 Judicael Cancoriet, 5 Baptiste Pesenti, 4 David Auradou, 3 Georges-Henri Colombe, 2 Gaetan Barlot, 1 Jean-Baptiste Gros.
Replacements: 16 Teddy Baubigny, 17 Sebastien Taofifenua, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Posolo Tuilagi, 20 Mickael Guillard, 21 Lenni Nouchi, 22 Baptiste Couilloud, 23 Melvyn Jaminet.

Date: Saturday, July 6
Venue: Malvinas Argentinas Stadium, Mendoza
Kick-off: 16.00 (19.00 GMT; 21.00 CEST)
Expected weather: It will be chilly with plenty of sunshine and a high of 9°C
Referee: Chris Busby (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Eoghan Cross (Ireland)
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)

AFP & @rugby365com

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