France v Samoa: Autumn international match preview
Last Updated: 23/11/12 8:56am
France will look to finish their impressive autumn campaign on a high when they tackle Samoa at the Stade de France on Saturday.
Les Bleus have not completed a clean sweep in their November Tests since 2005, however they have already accounted for Australia (33-6) and Argentina (39-22).
However France will be favourites to win in Paris and coach Philippe Saint-Andre believes that in itself will provide a challenge to his side.
"We were the outsiders against Australia, it was 50-50 against Argentina and now we are in the role of favourites," said Saint-Andre, who has made three changes for the match, with Thomas Domingo, Benjamin Kayser and Morgan Parra handed starts.
"We will see if we are capable of assuming that mantle and once again winning. We are trying to instil a culture of quality and consistency at the topmost level. That is the challenge that awaits us on Saturday."
Samoa head to Paris having toppled Six Nations champions Wales 26-19 last time out - and technical advisor Pat Lam believes that another upset could be on the cards.
"If we win this match, we could be eighth, seventh or even sixth (in the IRB world rankings). For a little country like us, that would be a great achievement," said Lam.
"Nowadays, our players play for some of the best clubs in the world. It's not easy to gather them all together at the same time, but when we do get them they are in very good form."
Samoa, though, will be with Paul Williams, Faatoina Autagavaia, Dan Leo and Ole Avei for the clash, so Johnny Leota, Robert Lilomaiava, Joe Tekori and Ti'i Paulo all start.
France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Wesley Fofana, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Vincent Clerc, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Morgan Parra, 1 Thomas Domingo, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 3 Nicolas Mas, 4 Pascal Pape (capt), 5 Yoann Maestri, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 7 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 8 Louis Picamoles.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Yannick Forestier, 18 Vince Debaty, 19 Jocelino Suta, 20 Damien Chouly, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Yoann Huget
Samoa: 15 Robert Lilomaiava, 14 Paul Perez, 13 George Pisi, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 David Lemi (capt), 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Kahn Fotuali'I, 8 Taiasina Tuifua, 7 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 6 Ofisa Treviranus, 5 Joe Tekori, 4 Teofilo Paulo, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Ti'i Paulo, 1 Sakaria Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Ole Avei, 17 Viliamu Afatia, 18 James Johnston, 19 Faatiga Lemalu, 20 Tivaini Fomai, 21 Jeremy Su'a, 22 Ki Anufe, 23 Reupena Levasa