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Antoine Frisch among eight France debutants

By Jon Newcombe
Antoine Frisch will make his France debut this weekend, ending any hopes Ireland had of selecting him. (Photo By Eóin Noonan/ Getty Images)

For his 50th Test in charge of France this Saturday, Fabien Galthié has selected an experimental matchday 23 to take on Argentina in Mendoza.

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Galthié, who has an impressive 78% winning record, hands debuts to seven starters with two more players in line to make their senior international bow if they are called upon from the bench.

Antoine Frisch is among those set to win their first caps with the Toulon-bound centre, who has spent the last two years with Munster, named in a midfield with Émilien Gailleton.

French-born Frisch was once coveted by Andy Farrell, as he qualifies for Ireland through an Irish grandmother and toured with Emerging Ireland in 2022.

Gailleton’s Pau team-mate, Théo Attissogbe and fellow wing Lester Etien are the other newcomers to a raw backline, which contains Baptiste Serin as captain and scrum-half.

The Toulon No.9 will lead Les Bleus for the second time in his 45th cap, having only previously worn the armband against Italy in the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup.

Serin, who turned 30 last month, is accompanied at half-back by Antoine Hastoy.

Fixture
Internationals
Argentina
13 - 28
Full-time
France
All Stats and Data

In the pack, Jonathan Joseph makes his long-awaited debut at number eight.

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The 23-year-old Racing 92 player has been bedevilled by injuries since starring for France in their World Rugby U20 Championship winning campaign in 2018.

Joseph lines up in an all-new back row with fellow uncapped players Lenni Nouchi and Oscar Jegou.

Nouchi, who led France to the World Rugby U20 Championship title last year, was due to start on the bench but has taken his place on the blindside following the late withdrawal of Judicaël Cancoriet.

The third debutant to come from Pau is lock Hugo Auradou, who packs down in the engine room with Baptiste Pesenti.

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Props Jean-Baptiste Gros and Georges-Henri Colombe and hooker Gaëtan Barlot make up the front row.

Lyon forward Mickaël Guillard is the only uncapped player on an otherwise experienced bench.

The France team to play Argentina:

15 Léo Barré; 14 Théo Attissogbe, 13 Émilien Gailleton, 12 Antoine Frisch, 11 Lester Etien; 10 Antoine Hastoy, 9 Baptiste Serin; 1 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 2 Gaëtan Barlot, 3 Georges-Henri Colombe, 4 Hugo Auradou, 5 Baptiste Pesenti, 6 Lenni Nouchi, 7 Oscar Jegou, 8 Jordan Joseph.

Replacements: 16 Teddy Baubigny, 17 Sébastien Taofifenua, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Posolo Tuilagi, 20 Mickaël Guillard, 21 Ibrahim Diallo, 22 Baptiste Couilloud, 23 Melvyn Jaminet.

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finn 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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FEATURE Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma
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