France and Argentina will both look to bounce back from defeats and end losing streaks when they clash in Lille on Saturday, writes DYLAN JACK.
They come into the clash on the back of losses to the Springboks and Ireland respectively. The home side will be particularly aggrieved that they did not manage to see out the game against the Boks, tossing away a lead with time up on the clock.
After that defeat, and following on from their disastrous three-Test tour to New Zealand, France have now lost their last five matches, something they will be desperate to right in front of their home crowd.
The Argentinians were more comfortably dealt with by Ireland in Dublin as the hosts exploited another shaky effort from the visitors at scrum time to seal the win.
That loss to Ireland means that after starting well under new head coach Mario Ledesma, claiming wins against the Boks and Wallabies, the Pumas are now on a three-match losing streak.
While Argentina’s backline has been in champagne form this year, their forwards have often struggled to lay a consistent platform for their X-factor players to launch from. France can definitely look to get at the Pumas scrum, which was partially at fault for conceding two of three tries against the Irish.
The hosts have made just two changes to their starting XV for the match, bringing in the experience of centre Gaël Fickou and wing Yoann Huget.
A difficult year for Les Bleus could have been better if they had been able to turn narrow losses against Ireland, Wales and the Boks into wins. Should they go ahead against the Pumas, the hosts will have to show a bit of mettle to secure what would be just their third win of the year.
These sides last met in a two-match Test series in June 2016, which was drawn 1-1. However, Argentina did manage to pick up a victory on their last visit to France in 2014.
France – 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Gaël Fickou, 12 Mathieu Bastareaud, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Arthur Iturria, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Jefferson Poirot.
Subs: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Paul Gabrillagues, 20 Mathieu Babillot, 21 Antoine Dupont, 22 Anthony Belleau, 23 Benjamin Fall.
Argentina – 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Guido Petti, 6 Pablo Matera (c), 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Augustin Creevy, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta.
Subs: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 18 Lucio Sordoni, 19 Mariano Galarza, 20 Rodrigo Bruni, 21 Tomas Lezana, 22 Tomas Cubelli, 23 Matias Moroni.