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France vs New Zealand

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New Zealand vs France Rugby Live

When: Saturday 11th November, ‎2017

Where: Stade de France, Paris

Kickoff: 7:45 p.m. ET

RC Toulon’s French centre Mathieu Bastareaud.Source: AFPNew Zealand plumped for Vaea Fifita on the blindside flank after first choice Liam Squire was too ill to play and veteran Jerome Kaino had to return home with a knee cruciate injury.

Bastareaud hasn’t played for France since the 2015 Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Cardiff, where they were humiliated by the All Blacks 62-13.

For his 40th cap, Bastareaud has been partnered with uncapped La Rochelle centre Geoffrey Doumayrou.

“We’ve got some maturity in midfield with Mathieu, and some speed and ardour with Geoffrey, this is what we call a good balance,” coach Guy Noves said.

“Will it be enough? Let’s see.”

The other new starters were Toulon flyhalf Anthony Belleau, Clermont flanker Judicael Cancoriet, and Stade Francais lock Paul Gabrillagues.

Two more uncapped players were in the reserves: Clermont prop Raphael Chaume, and Castres flanker Anthony Jelonch.

Belleau is paired with Antoine Dupont, the backup scrumhalf making his first start. Regular starter Baptiste Serin is in the reserves.

“Given their performances with their clubs since the start of the season, we wanted to see what they would be capable of as starters at this level,” Noves said.

He had three more uncapped players in his squad, choosing to play them against New Zealand Maori on Friday, or the All Blacks on Tuesday, as part of a French XV in Lyon.

Fifita made a big impression in his first major international, scoring a match-winning try in New Zealand’s home match against Argentina during the Rugby Championship.

But he is young and raw and would likely have been held back if circumstances had not forced his selection.

In other significant selections, rising star Rieko Ioane has been picked on the left wing after overcoming mumps, and Damian McKenzie returns at fullback in a leap of faith.

McKenzie has immense talent but his recent performances have been patchy and the slightly built player might also face his biggest career test against the physical French.