Five French players to follow in series against All Blacks
Last updated 16:23, June 8 2018
MIKE HEWETT/GETTY IMAGES
Here are our five French players to watch out for over the next three weeks.
Coach Jacques Brunel has retained only four players from France’s last test, against Wales in the Six Nations.
The large turnover was caused by injuries or the desire to give players a break after the arduous French Top 14 season.
It’s been commented that he is building a squad for the 2023 World Cup, rather than next year’s event in Japan, but this is still a French team that is dangerous.
So here are our five French players to watch out for over the next three weeks.
Ready, set, go. Morgan Parra and his French team-mates are in New Zealand looking for an historic series win against the All Blacks.
Test caps: 66
Parra is the most capped player in this French team and probably the one most known in New Zealand. He had a solid season with his club and around a relatively inexperienced his cool head will be vital, which he’s been brought back from the wilderness. He has played against the All Blacks five times in the past and never been in the winning team.
Maxime Medard scored the try that pretty much sealed victory for France in Dunedin in 2009 and became a national hero overnight.
Test caps: 47
The sideburns are gone but the sidestep remains. Medard scored the try that pretty much sealed victory for France in Dunedin in 2009 and became a national hero overnight. This will be his first test for Les Bleus since June 2016 as he’s has edged out Hugo Bonneval, who wore the No 15 jersey for a fair chunk of this year’s Six Nations.
Judicael Cancoriet takes on the All Blacks line in 2017 test at Stade de France, Paris.
Test caps: 3
Cancoriet was something of a controversial selection. He has benefitted from Kelian Galletier playing in the Top 14 final for Montpellier last weekend, so is unavailable for the opening test. It was expected his team-mate Alexandre Lapandry would get the nod ahead of him, but Cancoriet is a more powerful, direct runner, who could cause damage.
Any mention of Mathieu Bastareaud in New Zealand has to revolve around France’s tour here in 2009, when he lied about being attacked by five men in Wellington, only to eventually admit he hurt himself by falling over drunk in his hotel room.
Test caps: 45
Any mention of Bastareaud in New Zealand has to revolve around France’s tour here in 2009, when he lied about being attacked by five men in Wellington, only to eventually admit he hurt himself by falling over drunk in his hotel room. At the beginning of this year he was banned for three weeks for a homophobic slur directed at Benetton flanker Sebastian Negri, calling him a “f*****g faggot”. But France coach Jacques Brunel thinks he’s captain’s material.
Uini Atonio , a Timaru-born front rower, was on the books at Counties Manukau, but couldn’t make much headway in New Zealand.
Club: La Rochelle
Test caps: 28
The Timaru born front rower, was on the books at Counties Manukau, but couldn’t make much headway in New Zealand. So with Tana Umaga’s blessing signed to play for La Rochelle in France and hasn’t looked back. Even by props standards, Atonio is a big unit. He’s listed at 152kgs but looks a bit slimmer than that. However, it will take some effort to move him around in the scrums.