International rugby match preview: New Zealand v France

Last Updated: 21/06/13 10:20am

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New Zealand have made five changes in personnel ahead of the final Test against France in New Plymouth having won the series last weekend.

The All Blacks are now chasing a whitewash after last weekend's 30-0 victory in Christchurch clinched the three-match series with one game to play.

In the backs, Piri Weepu is promoted to the starting line-up at scrum-half with Tawera Kerr-Barlow reduced to the bench.

Weepu will be partnered in the half-backs by the fit again Dan Carter, who replaces Aaron Cruden, while Rene Ranger gets his first start of the series after two cameo appearances from the bench.

Victor Vito comes off the bench to make his first start of 2013 after Matt Todd takes his spot amongst the replacements for the first time while Steven Luatua could also make his All Blacks bow.

Consolation

Up front, Andrew Hore will deputise for injured hooker Dane Coles, who suffered a calf strain during last Saturday's match, while Keven Mealamu comes onto the bench.

Meanwhile, Les Bleus coach Phillipe Saint-Andre has made eight changes to his starting XV in search of a consolation victory.

Full-back Brice Dulin gets the nod ahead of Maxime Medard while Marc Andreu starts on the right wing with Adrien Plante left out of the match-day squad.

Remi Tales and Jean-Marc Doussain forge a new half-back partnership as the injured Frederic Michalak and Maxime Machenaud make way.

France No. 8 Louis Picamoles was stretchered off during the Christchurch mauling with a hip problem which paves the way for Antonie Claassen to move into the engine room.

Also in the pack, Alexandre Flanquart comes in to replace Christophe Samson, Benjamin Kayser is preferred ahead of Dimitri Szarzewski and Damien Chouly comes in for Bernard Le Roux.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read (capt), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Victor Vito, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Tony Woodcock, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Charles Piutau.

France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Marc Andreu, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Remi Tal├Ęs, 9 Jean-Marc Doussain, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Damien Chouly, 6 Theirry Dusautoir (capt), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Alexandre Flanquart, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Luc Ducalcon, 19 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 20 Bernard Le Roux, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Camille Lopez, 23 Mathieu Bastareaud.

What they said...

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen

"While the Steinlager Series has been won, we certainly won't be underestimating the French in this final match. We have put a full stop in last weekend's performance and expecting further improvement from ourselves, and another hard, physical contest from the French.

"However, we are committed to continue building the depth in our squad and introducing new players to Test match rugby, hence why we have selected the team we have."

France head coach Phillipe Saint-Andre

"It's new for us and I think some guys deserve it because they played well against the Blues and some are fresh physically and mentally so we tried to keep some experience while also bringing players who can bring us some creativity and a lot of urgency and because Louis Picamoles and Freddie Michalak are injured we need to find some solutions.

"Each time we gave easy ball to the All Blacks they punished us so we will try to give them less ball and we will try to improve our kicking game, and our lineout."

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