France coach Jacques Brunel has turned the blowtorch on his new-look loose forward trio for the second Test against the All Blacks.
Brunel singled out that area as a weakness in the 52-11 first Test loss in Auckland and responded by dumping both his flankers among five starting changes.
Mathieu Babillot and Kelian Galletier will pack down on the side of the scrum in place of Fabien Sanconnie and Judicael Cancoriet.
The newcomers weren’t considered for the Eden Park opener because they’d played in the French Top 14 club final a week earlier.
Brunel wants them to be prominent, along with No.8 Kevin Gourdon, who appears to have been fortunate to keep his spot.
“We are upset with the flankers in the first Test and that is the reason why I have made the changes,” Brunel said.
“(Gourdon) has revenge to take on the field because he didn’t play a good first Test”.
La Rochelle hard man Gourdon, the most experienced member of the trio with just 17 caps, believes he let the tourists down.
The All Blacks took command of the breakdown as the match wore on, setting up their late scoring blitz.
“Being on the field again is like a bond of trust from Jacques. If I didn’t play, I could understand. It’s a good surprise,” he said.
“I looked like a damn fool and I don’t like that.”
Montpellier fullback Benjamin Fall usurps veteran Maxime Medard at fullback while the two players involved in contentious moments in Auckland have made way.
Gael Fickou replaces impressive left winger Remy Grosso, who was ruled out with the fractured skull suffered when hit in a double-tackle from Sam Cane and Ofa Tu’ungafasi.
Lock Paul Gabrillagues, considered unlucky to be shown a yellow card, is on the reserves bench. His starting spot goes to South African-born Bernard Le Roux.
Bench hooker Pierre Bourgarit, 20, is in line for a Test debut.
FRANCE: Benjamin Fall, Teddy Thomas, Mathieu Bastareaud (capt), Geoffrey Doumayrou, Gael Fickou, Anthony Belleau, Morgan Parra, Kevin Gourdon, Kelian Galletier, Mathieu Babillot, Yoann Maestri, Bernard Le Roux, Uini Atonio, Camille Chat, Dany Priso. Res: Pierre Bourgarit, Cyril Baille, Cedate Gomes Sa, Paul Gabrillagues, Alexandre Lapandry, Baptiste Serin, Jules Plisson, Maxime Medard.