France axe their captain
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: France has dropped skipper Mathieu Bastareaud and brought back Wesley Fofana in one of two changes for Saturday’s third Test against the All Blacks in Dunedin.
Benjamin Fall, the fullback sent off in the second Test but whose red card was later rescinded, retained the No.15 jersey in the team named Thursday.
Veteran scrumhalf Morgan Parra will take over the captaincy in a remarkable return to favour after being overlooked for French selection following the 2015 World Cup quarter-final loss to New Zealand until this three-Test tour.
Bastareaud, who has played an impressive 30 games for Toulon and France this season, did even make the bench for the dead rubber after New Zealand won the first Test 52-11 and took the second 26-13.
His partner in the centres during the first two Tests, Geoffrey Doumayrou, twisted an ankle in Wellington last weekend and has been replaced by Remi Lamerat who plays alongside Fofana for Clermont.
The 30-year-old Fofana, who played the last of his 44 Tests against the All Blacks in Paris in November 2016, was sidelined for the first two matches of this series by a thigh injury.
On the bench, lock Felix Lambey is poised to make a Test debut.
France: 15 Ben Fall, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Remi Lamerat, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Gael Fickou, 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Morgan Parra (captain), 8 Kevin Gourdon, 7 Kelian Galletier, 6 Mathieu Babillot, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Bernard le Roux, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Dany Priso.
Replacements: 16 Adrien Pelissie, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Cedate Gomes Sa, 19 Felix Lambey, 20 Alexandre Lapandry, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Maxime Medard.
Date: Saturday, June 23
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-off: 19.35 (09.35 French time, 07.35 GMT)
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)