France hit with second row injury blow

France have suffered a blow as they have lost second rower Yoann Maestri for their Test match against Australia as he withdrew due to lower back pain.


Maestri’s place in the pack will go to Jocelino Suta of Toulon, who wins his first cap at the age of 29. Young Perpignan forward Sebastien Vahaamahina, 21, takes Suta’s place on the bench.


Maestri, 24, did not train with the squad on Thursday, complaining of tiredness and had to pull out on Friday, although he could be fit for the forthcoming Tests against Argentina in Lille next week and Samoa in Paris the following Saturday.


“He is a very big loss,” said French forwards coach Yannick Bru.


“After losing Thierry Dusautoir and Wen Lauret, we’ll be without the biggest and heaviest man in the pack. He’s a player who has grown in stature this year and he was at the heart of our forward play.”


Revised teams for the France v Australia Test at the Stade de France on Saturday (kick-off 2000 GMT):


France (15-1)


Brice Dulin; Wesley Fofana, Florian Fritz, Maxime Mermoz, Vincent Clerc; Frederik Michalak, Maxime Machenaud; Louis Picamoles, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Yannick Nyanga; Jocelino Suta, Pascal Pape (capt); Nicolas Mas, Dimitri Szarzewski, Yannick Forestier


Replacements: Benjamin Kayser, Thomas Domingo, Vincent Debaty, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Damien Chouly, Morgan Parra, Francois Trinh-Duc, Yoann Huget


Australia (15-1)


Mike Harris; Adam Ashley-Cooper, Ben Tapuai, Pat McCabe, Nick Cummins; Kurtley Beale, Nick Phipps; Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Dave Dennis; Nathan Sharpe (capt), Kane Douglas; Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota Nau, Benn Robinson


Replacements: Stephen Moore, James Slipper, Paddy Ryan, Rob Simmons, Radike Samo, Liam Gill, Brett Sheehan, Berrick Barnes

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