SYDNEY: France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has recalled versatile back Hugo Bonneval and flanker Fulgence Ouedraogo to the starting side for the third and final test against Australia in Sydney, as Les Bleus bid to avoid a series sweep.
Beaten 6-0 in Melbourne on Saturday, France have already lost the series 2-0, but have retained a strong side for the match at Sydney Football Stadium with the hope of ending a 24-year losing streak on Australian soil.
Bonneval, who started at fullback in the first test in Brisbane, replaces Maxime Medard on the wing, while Burkina Faso-born Ouedraogo starts openside flanker, relegating Yannick Nyanga to the bench.
Captain Thierry Dusautoir, who played well at Melbourne’s Docklands Stadium after being rested in Brisbane, retains the starting blindside flanker position.
Meanwhile, Victor Matfield will become the most-capped South African player of all time when the giant lock leads the Springboks in the second test against Wales in Nelspruit.
When he takes to the pitch, the 37-year-old will beak the record of 2007 World Cup-winning skipper John Smit with his 112th appearance for the side as South Africa look to wrap up the two-test series with another thumping win.
Matfield will lead a side that has two changes from one that scored five tries in beating the Welsh 38-16 in Durban last weekend.
The first will be a new lock partner in Flip van der Merwe and the other at loose-head prop, where Tendai Mtawarira takes over from Gurthro Steenkamp.
“This is a fantastic accolade for Victor,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer yesterday.