Following last week’s 23-13 defeat to the All Blacks, the French will be looking to make a bigger impact when the two old rivals meet once again in AMI Stadium in Christchurch.
The French have made some pivotal changes to mix-up their attack, which lacked clinical finishing last week as a number of try-scoring opportunities were missed.
Nicolas Mas (prop), Christophe Samson (lock) and Frederic Michalak (flyhalf) all move back into the starting XV, while South African-born loose forward Bernard Le Roux get his debut on the back of the scrum.
Brice Dulin, Remi Tales, Mathieu Bastareaud are put on the bench, with Bastareaud expected to match the physicality of the powerful Ma’a Nonu, who had a great game last week.
All Black coach Steve Hansen is clearly looking for some consistency in the New Zealand squad, and has opted for the exact same team that took the field last week.
The bench saw three changes though, with Andrew Hore and Tony Woodcock making their returns to the Test arena replacing Keven Mealamu and last week’s Test debutant Ben Afeaki respectively.
Piri Weepu comes onto the bench for Tawera Kerr–Barlow, and will add some playmaking options off the base of the breakdowns.
Rugby Informer’s take: the French will be looking to redeem themselves after last week, which should have seen Les Bleus score far more tries. The All Blacks should have a tighter grasp on what to expect from the French this time around and should remain stronger in defence. All Blacks by 8.
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg. 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain) 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Tony Woodcock, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Victor Vito, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Rene Ranger.
France: 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Adrien Plante, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Bernard Le Roux, 7 Louis Picamoles, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Christophe Samson, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Luc Ducalcon, 19 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 20 Yannick Nyanga, 21 Brice Dulin, 22 Remi Tales, 23 Mathieu Bastareaud..