New Zealand v France: All Blacks make one change to starting XV

Last Updated: 15/06/13 8:34am

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New Zealand have made one change to their starting XV ahead of Saturday's second Steinlager Series Test match in Christchurch.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen opted not to make any alterations despite his side making a tentative start in the series opener last weekend, but was forced into a late switch after Brodie Retallick was ruled out, with Sam Whitelock taking his place.

Hansen's squad is strengthened by the returns of Tony Woodcock and Piri Weepu, who are both named on the bench.

Highlanders prop Woodcock has recovered from a nasal abscess while Blues half-back Weepu is back after suffering concussion in his last Super Rugby outing.

The All Blacks will be aiming to celebrate their 500th Test match with a sixth consecutive victory against France.

Experienced

Meanwhile France coach Phillipe Saint-Andre has made four changes to the side that fell 23-13 at Eden Park last Saturday.

Having been exposed in Auckland the French pack is bolstered by the return of prop Nicolas Mas and Castres lock Christophe Samson as Saint-Andre fields a more experienced starting line-up.

South African-born flanker Bernard le Roux will make his international at openside having been preferred to Fulgence Quedrango who is left out of the match-day 23.

The France coach was left ruing squandered opportunities following the series opener and Camille Lopez, who debuted at fly-half, has subsequently been demoted to the bench as Toulon's Frederic Michalak returns the starting XV.

Saint-Andre will hope the added experience will set the record straight for France as the two highest try-scoring nations lock horns once again in what promises to be a scintillating encounter.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (capt), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Tony Woodcock, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Victor Vito, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Rene Ranger.

France: 15 Maxime Médard, 14 Adrien Planté, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Bernard Le Roux, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (capt), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Christophe Samson, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Luc Ducalcon, 19 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 20 Yannick Nyanga, 21 Brice Dulin, 22 Remi Tales, 23 Mathieu Bastareaud.

What they said...

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen

"Overall, we have had a good week's preparation. It's now about putting that preparation and hard work into a performance on the track that we can all be proud of.

"The French, however, may have their own ideas about that and one pleasing aspect from last week's Test is that we have been left with no uncertainty just how tough this weekend's Test will be."

France head coach Phillipe Saint-Andre

"I think Michalak is a talented player and he has a lot of flair, he has more or less been the first choice of the French team for the last 12 months. Also he is a world class kicker.

"We were not clinical in the first Test so I hope Michalak can bring us this."

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