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France name rookie at fly-half


Begles Bordeaux fly half Camille LopezTest debut: Camille Lopez

Bordeaux-Bègles fly-half Camille Lopez will make his Test debut for France in Saturday’s opening June Test against New Zealand at Eden Park.

Coach Philippe Saint-André has also handed Perpignan wing Adrien Planté his first international start while on the other wing Maxime Médard returns to win his 33rd cap, almost four years to the day since scoring the winning try in Dundin – the last time France beat in the All Blacks in New Zealand.

Les Bleus will have a fresh faced half-back pairing as Racing Metro scrum-half Maxime Machenaud joins Lopez in the starting XV. Both are just 24.

21-year-old lock Sébastien Vahaamahina starts in the second row while Luc Ducalcon is at tighthead prop in the absence of stalwart Nicolas Mas, who is still recovering from injury.

South African-born Clermont prop Daniel Kotze and young Stade Français lock Alexandre Flanquart could also make their debuts off the bench.

Toulon playmaker Frédéric Michalak features amongst the replacements along with club team-mate Maxime Mermoz following their late arrival due to the Top 14 Final.

France: 15 Yoann Huget, 14 Adrien Plante, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Maxime Medard, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8Louis Picamoles, 7 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (c), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Thomas Domingo
Replacements: 16 Guilhem Guirado, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Daniel Kotze, 19 Akexandre Flanquart, 20 Yannick Nyanga, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Frederic Michalak, 23 Maxime Mermoz

Date: Saturday, June 8
Venue: Eden Park, Aukland
Kick-off: 19.35 07.35 (GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)


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