WELLINGTON (Reuters) - France coach Jacques Brunel has swung the axe and made five changes to his starting side for their second test against the All Blacks at Wellington Regional Stadium on Saturday.
Loose forwards Fabien Sanconnie and Judicael Cancoriet, who started in the 52-11 first-test loss, have been dropped from the 23-man matchday squad totally.
Mathieu Babillot and Kelian Galletier, who were not considered for the first test after they played in the Top-14 final and arrived late in New Zealand, have been named to replace the pair on the side of the French scrum.
Fullback Maxime Medard has survived being trampled over by Ngani Laumape in the Eden Park match but shunted to the bench with Montpellier winger Ben Fall, also a late arrival, taking his place in the number 15 jersey.
Gael Fickou, who is ordinarily a centre for club Toulouse, has been named on the left wing for the injured Remy Grosso, who suffered facial fractures and was ruled out of the series following a double tackle by Sam Cane and Ofa Tu’ungafasi last week.
Bernard Le Roux has been promoted off the bench to replace fellow lock Paul Gabrillagues, who was harshly given a yellow card in the first test that blew the game open.
Until Gabrillagues’ sinbinning for a high tackle on Ryan Crotty the match had been locked at 11-11 before the home side exploited the man advantage to open up a 30-11 lead.
Experienced tighthead prop Rabah Slimani, who was demolished by debutant Karl Tu’inukuafe in their first scrum, has dropped out of the matchday squad altogether along with replacement hooker Adrien Pelissie.
Racing 92 prop Cedate Gomes Sa and La Rochelle hooker Pierre Bougarit have taken their places on the bench.
Team: 15-Ben Fall, 14-Teddy Thomas, 13-Mathieu Bastareaud (captain), 12-Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11-Gael Fickou, 10-Anthony Belleau, 9-Morgan Parra, 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-Pierre Bougarit, 17-Cyril Baille, 18-Cedate Gomes Sa, 19-Paul Gabrillagues, 20-Alexandre Lapandry, 21-Baptiste Serin, 22-Jules Plisson, 23-Maxime Medard
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Ed Osmond/Toby Davis