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Rugby | International Rugby

Maestri back for France



Lock Yoann Maestri was named in the France team to face Argentina on Saturday as manager Philippe Saint Andre made only one change on Thursday to the side which thrashed Australia last weekend.

Maestri, who missed France's 33-6 routing of Australia at the Stade de France last Saturday because of a back problem, replaces Jocelino Suta.

The rest of the team is unchanged, with man of the match Frederic Michalak staying at flyhalf and Maxime Machenaud at his side at scrumhalf.

After entertaining Argentina in Lille, France, who are fourth in the IRB rankings ahead of the World Cup seedings, will take on Samoa at the Stade de France on November 24.

Saturday's match will be an opportunity for France to show they have what it takes to produce two top-notch performances in the span of eight days.

"It is a key match for us. We want to see if we're capable of playing two high level matches in a row. It is a huge challenge for the staff and the players," Saint Andre told a news conference.

"We know the Argentines well. They have never been in such a running order in November," he added, referring to Argentina's 26-12 win against Wales in Cardiff last Saturday.

France were impressive against Australia and Saint Andre would not be drawn into tinkering with the side before the Argentina clash, which could be played under a closed roof in Lille should the visitors agree to it.

"The players have recuperated well. The Argentines have changed three players in their team because of injuries," said Saint Andre.

"We've been following a certain logic since June. We played three international tests while Argentina have played 12 times. We can't afford changing too many players."

France lost 23-20 in Argentina last June but followed up with a 49-10 win.

FRANCE:Brice Dulin; Wesley Fofana, Florian Fritz, Maxime Mermoz, Vincent Clerc; Frederic Michalak, Maxime Machenaud; Louis Picamoles, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Yannick Nyanga; Yoann Maestri, Pascal Pape (capt); Nicolas Mas, Dimitri Szarzewski, Yannick Forestier.

Replacements: Benjamin Kayser, Thomas Domingo, Vincent Debaty, Jocelino Suta, Damien Chouly, Morgan Parra, Francois Trinh-Duc, Huget

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