S Africa wary of French backlash

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The Independent Online
South Africa will be wary of recent French history when they seek to defend their series lead in the second and final Test at the Parc des Princes this afternoon.

A weakened French side lost 22-12 in the first Test in Bordeaux last Saturday against a Springbok team unchanged this weekend for a record fourth Test.

However, France have a proud tradition of bouncing back from losing the first Test to win the second. Andre Markgraaff, the Springbok coach, whose team face Wales next Sunday, said: "The French have not swallowed the defeat in Bordeaux and they will be looking for revenge."

Four years ago, France lost 20-15 in Lyon but then crushed the Springboks 29-16 at their favourite Parc des Princes. James Small, South Africa's wingers said: "It will be terrible this time. The French are likely to kick their penalties and we will perhaps not have the luck of the first Test when the referee gave us a try that wasn't."

France have made eight changes from the first Test - six in personnel and two positional. Olivier Merle, who has recovered from a rib injury, has been recalled at lock to bolster a heavier pack aimed at countering the Springboks' forward strength. Jean-Claude Skrela, the French coach, has also given a first cap to the 28-year-old winger Laurent Leflamand, and picked wing David Venditti, stand-off Christophe Lamaison, scrum-half Guy Accoceberry and hooker Marc Dal Maso. Richard Dourthe switches from wing to centre while captain Abdelatif Benazzi moves from flanker to No 8.

FRANCE: J-L Sadourny; L Leflamand, R Dourthe, S Glas, D Venditti; C Lamaison, G Accoceberry; C Califano, M Dal Maso, F Tournaire, O Merle, F Pelous, P Benetton, R Castel, A Benazzi (capt).

SOUTH AFRICA: A Joubert; J Small, J Mulder, H Le Roux, J Olivier; H Honiball, J van der Westhuizen; D Theron, J Dalton, A Garvey, K Wiese, M Andrews, R Kruger, A Venter, G Teichmann (capt).