x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

France pick newcomer Medard

Toulouse are well represented in the French squad to face Argentina with Maxime Medard winning his first cap.

MARCOUSSIS, FRANCE // The full-back Maxime Medard will win his first cap for France in Saturday's match against Argentina in Marseille. The 21-year-old was one of eight Toulouse players picked by the coach Marc Lievremont in his starting line-up. "We've been following Maxime for a long time and we knew that he was among the players who would play for France one day," Lievremont said about Medard, who was a member of the France team that won the Under-21 world title in 2006.

Medard will be surrounded by familiar faces, including the Toulouse scrumhalf Jean-Baptiste Elissalde and flyhalf David Skrela. "We take the best players and at the moment, Toulouse are ahead of the other teams," said the assistant coach Emile Ntamack. Romain Millo-Chluski, also of Toulouse, was preferred to Sebastien Chabal and will win his second cap, playing alongside the captain Lionel Nallet at lock, while the selection of loose head prop Fabien Barcella instead of Lionel Faure came as a surprise.

France have lost six of their last seven meetings against Argentina, including the last two at the 2007 World Cup on home soil in the opening game and third-place match. "They are better ranked than we are and had a better World Cup than we did but this must stop," Lievremont added. French team: Maxime Medard, Julien Malzieu, Yannick Jauzion, Benoît Baby, Cedric Heymans, David Skrela, Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, Louis Picamoles, Imanol Harinordoquy, Thierry Dusautoir, Lionel Nallet (captain), 4-Romain Millo-Chluski, Benoît Lecouls, Dimitri Szarzewski, Fabien Barcella. Replacements: Benjamin Kayser, Nicolas Mas, Sebastien Chabal, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Morgan Parra, Damien Traille, Alexis Palisson. *Reuters