Mini revolution around every corner in France

14 November 2017 - 16:09 By Liam Del Carme
South African rugby union's head coach Franco Smith (L) and fly half Handre Pollard give a press conference at their hotel five days ahead there test match against France, on November 14, 2017 in Boulogne-Billancourt, western Paris.
South African rugby union's head coach Franco Smith (L) and fly half Handre Pollard give a press conference at their hotel five days ahead there test match against France, on November 14, 2017 in Boulogne-Billancourt, western Paris.
Image: Martin BUREAU / AFP

You don’t need much to stir the emotions here. There is a mini revolution around every corner.

France’s rugby bosses have invoked the ire of their constituents by having a star studded French XV play the All Blacks‚ three days after their national team played New Zealand‚ and four days before they are to engage South Africa.

Springbok rugby may not be in the rudest health at the minute but by including players like giant lock Yoann Maestri‚ creative flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc‚ South African born fullback Scott Spedding‚ son of Eric‚ Hugo Bonneval‚ son of Willy‚ Romain Taufifenua‚ as well flyhalf Jules Plisson who is on the bench‚ the French have their resources spread thin.

The local media has derided the contest as nothing more than an exhibition throw around for which Test caps won’t be handed out.

It is unlikely France coach Guy Noves will include any of the players who see action on Tuesday night in his team to play the Springboks on Saturday‚ but then again French have their quirks.

The experienced Maestri‚ who has 59 caps‚ can’t add to his collection on Tuesday and it is unlikely he’ll do so on Saturday.

He seems to be at odds with his former club coach but was quick to douse the sparks of speculation.

Maestri‚ who will break his long association with Toulouse to join La Rochelle next season‚ made it clear that he was not annoyed to be selected for what amounts to a France B-side.

He added the French team did not belong to anybody.

Trinh-Duc who has 61 caps came on for just five minutes in France’s 38-18 defeat at the hands of the All Blacks‚ also seems to operate primarily in the coach’s peripherals.

Noves has already announced an enforced change to his squad with prop Sebastien Taofifenua replacing the injured Raphael Chaume.

The latter made his debut against the All Blacks‚ while the former could follow him into Test rugby this weekend.

Taufifenua featured for the French Barabrians against the New Zealand Maori last Friday.

Whoever the French push into battle on Saturday‚ the Springboks cannot afford to take them lightly.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen paid the Tricolores a huge complement last week‚ and he’s not always this generous.

“France are the best team in the world now on offloads‚” the coach said last week.


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