Test Series France opt for Trinh-Duc at fly-half for Samoa

Coach Guy Noves named Jean-Marc Doussain on the bench alongside up-and-coming scrum-half Baptiste Serin.

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Racing's French scrum-half Maxime Machenaud passes the ball during the French Top 14 rugby union match between Bayonne and Racing Metro 92 at the Jean Dauger stadium in Bayonne, on October 29, 2016 play

Racing's French scrum-half Maxime Machenaud passes the ball during the French Top 14 rugby union match between Bayonne and Racing Metro 92 at the Jean Dauger stadium in Bayonne, on October 29, 2016

(AFP/File)
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France have opted for Francois Trinh-Duc and Maxime Machenaud at half-back for Saturday's one-off Test against Samoa during which Yoann Huget will make his return after a year out.

Coach Guy Noves named Jean-Marc Doussain on the bench alongside up-and-coming scrum-half Baptiste Serin.

With rain expected for the match at Toulouse's Municipal Stadium, Machenaud was preferred for his physical presence, while the 55-time capped Trinh-Duc was picked after impressing in the summer tour of Argentina, against whom the second Test was won 27-0.

"He's maybe a little more mature than Baptiste," Noves said of Racing 92's Machenaud.

"He wasn't in Argentina because he was playing the Top 14 finals with his club, but it seemed logical to offer him the chance to start this season.

"He had a perfect attitude and performed very well during last season's Six Nations and had an excellent season with his club."

On the wing, Huget returns after suffering a serious knee injury in France's opening World Cup match against Italy.

He completes a back three also including Fiji-born Virimi Vakatawa and South African-born full-back Scott Spedding.

A third foreign player, New Zealander Uini Atonio, was named at prop next to captain and hooker Guilhem Guirado and Jefferson Poirot.

Julien Le Devedec accompanies veteran Yoann Maestri in the second row, while in-form Northampton No 8 Louis Picamoles is flanked by Loann Goujon and Kevin Gourdon.

Clermont midfield duo Remi Lamerat and Wesley Fofana complete the line-up as Noves underlined his confidence in the bulk of players who toured Argentina.

"We're trying to work in a continuous manner," the coach said.

"Those players (present in Argentina) made efforts, it's normal to reward them, to show them this confidence they showed us is a two-way thing."

Bristol winger David Lemi will captain Samoa's side which features five players plying their trade in France.

Giant prop Census Johnston and winger Paul Perez will be playing on "home" soil in Toulouse, while prop Sakaria Taulafo and full-back Paul Williams both play for Top 14 rivals Stade Francais and No 8 Genesis Mamea-Lemalu for ProD2 team Perpignan.

Chris Vui will make his debut in the second-row while Bath scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i makes his return, playing inside Patrick Faapale, who stars in the Italian first division.

Teams (15-1)

France

Scott Spedding; Yoann Huget, Remi Lamerat, Wesley Fofana, Virimi Vakatawa; Francois Trinh-Duc, Maxime Machenaud; Louis Picamoles, Loann Goujon, Kevin Gourdon; Yoann Maestri, Julien Le Devedec; Uini Atonio, Guilhem Guirado (capt), Jefferson Poirot

Replacements: Camille Chat, Cyril Baille, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Charles Ollivon, Baptiste Serin, Jean-Marc Doussain, Gael Fickou, Rabah Slimani

Samoa

Paul Williams; Paul Perez, George Pisi, Reynold Lee-Lo, David Lemi (capt); Patrick Fa'apale, Kahn Fotuali'i; Jack Lam, Genesis Mamea-Lemalu, Alafoti Fa'oosiliva; Teofilo Paulo, Chris Vui; Census Johnston, Manu Leaiataua, Sakaria Taulafo

Replacements: Elia Elia, Logovi'i Mulipola, Anthony Perenise, Jeff Lepa, Greg Foe, Peleifofoga Cowley, Alapati Leuila, Ken Pisi

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