Noves set to call on the big guns
IT NEEDS to be remembered that the French are coming off the back of their long domestic season, in fact, the final between Toulon and Clermont was played the week before the Loftus Test, and team management allowed players from those clubs to have the week off. Now, with the second test looming, French coach Guy Noves can call on his big guns in the hope of reversing the recent defeat. Toulon hooker Guilhem Guirado is set to take his spot in the No 2 jumper, and pick up the captaincy along with it. Another Toulon man, Francois Trinh-Duc could also slot straight in after flying out for the injured Camille Lopez. Noves has also flown in Clermont lock Paul Jedrasiak for injured club teammate Arthur Iturria. In total, Noves could call on seven finalists to bolster his squad, and many of those are experienced Test players. From Toulon, loosehead prop Xavier Chiocci could partner Guirado in the front row while lock Romain Taofifenua will add to their ball carries. It remains to be seen if Noves will make wholesale changes in the wake of an embarrassing loss for the French. There is much merit in keeping continuity, but with frontline players missing, the side that played at Loftus could almost be described as a ‘B’ side. Captain for the day last Saturday, Yoann Maestri, was incredibly succinct in his assessment of what needs to improve when interviewed after the match, stating simply “everything”. The Boks are expecting a huge backlash from the French and those players who watched from the stands last week will be raring to go.