PARIS (Reuters) - Recalled wing Yoann Huget will play his first test for France in 2018 after being named as one of two backline changes by coach Jacques Brunel for Saturday’s clash against Argentina in Lille as the side seek to end a five-match losing run.
Huget was not in the original squad for this month’s matches but replaces Damian Penaud, who was injured in last weekend’s dramatic 29-26 defeat to South Africa in Paris.
The winger is a 51-cap veteran but had not been considered for selection by Brunel for the November internationals until an injury to Wesley Fofana saw him called into the squad. His last test was a home defeat to the Springboks 12 months ago.
The other change sees Gael Fickou replace Geoffrey Doumayrou at inside centre, in what is the 10th different starting team for Brunel in his 10 tests in charge of the side.
Doumayrou suffered concussion last weekend and is not considered.
“Fickou has had a very good start to the season and deserves his place,” said coach Jacques Brunel at news conference on Thursday.
Fickou was on the wing for the June series in New Zealand, but did come off the bench to play at centre in last weekend’s loss to the Boks.
The pack remains the same for the visit of Argentina, with hooker Guilhem Guirado leading the side once again.
France have lost their last five tests and won only two of the previous nine under Brunel, their only successes in the last 15 matches.
The side have not lost six tests in a row since they went on a 10-game losing streak in 1968-69.
France and Argentina will also meet at the World Cup in Japan next year.
“There will be some lessons to be learnt but I don’t think Saturday’s match will have much influence on the World Cup,” Brunel added.
Team: 15-Maxime Medard, 14-Teddy Thomas, 13-Mathieu Bastareaud, 12-Gael Fickou, 11-Yoann Huget, 10-Camille Lopez, 9-Baptiste Serin, 8-Louis Picamoles, 7-Artur Iturria, 6-Wenceslas Lauret, 5-Yoan Maestri, 4-Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3-Cedate Gomes Sa, 2-Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1-Jefferson Poirot.
Replacements: 16-Camille Chat, 17-Dany Priso, 18-Rabah Slimani, 19-Paul Gabrillagues, 20-Mathieu Babillot, 21-Antoine Dupont, 22-Anthony Belleau, 23-Benjamin Fall.
Reporting by Mark Gleeson and Nick Said; Editing by John O'Brien and Toby Davis