Huget, Fickou back for France against Pumas

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French players react during their rugby union international against South Africa at the Stade de France in Paris.

French players react during their rugby union international against South Africa at the Stade de France in Paris. (Photo: AP)

PARIS (AP) — Wing Yoann Huget will play his first match for France in a year against Argentina this Saturday in Lille.

Huget replaced Damian Penaud, who missed out on Thursday because of a right ankle injury he sustained in the last-minute 29-26 loss to South Africa last weekend.

Huget was not included in France coach Jacques Brunel's initial squad for the autumn test matches last month but broke into the team after Wesley Fofana was ruled out injured.

"Huget has been very good since the season started, even though he was stopped by injuries," Brunel said at the team announcement. "We did not select him at first because he was injured but he recovered faster than we expected."

Brunel's only other change was starting Gael Fickou at inside center at the expense of Geoffrey Doumayrou, who was picked against the Springboks to bolster the defense. Fickou will start alongside Mathieu Bastareaud in his favorite position.

The halfback pairing of Camille Lopez and Baptiste Serin was retained.

Huget will earn his 52nd cap for the Tricolores, his first test since last November and an 18-17 loss to South Africa.

Since he took over last December, Brunel has won just two matches against Italy and England in the Six Nations. He said he did not consider making more changes after the loss to South Africa because he was satisfied by his players' performance.

"Everybody saw that we had many chances in the first half, against a South Africa team which was favorite following a series of quality matches," Brunel said. "We did not prove unworthy of the challenge and I believe we looked good for two thirds of the match. Why make changes to a team capable of competing with these players?"

Argentina made just one change after losing to Ireland 28-17 at Lansdowne Road last week, with Gonzalo Bertranou handed the No. 9 jersey as a replacement for Tomas Cubelli, who was on the bench.

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Lineups:

France: Maxime Medard, Teddy Thomas, Mathieu Bastareaud, Gael Fickou, Yoann Huget, Camille Lopez, Baptiste Serin; Louis Picamoles, Arthur Iturria, Wenceslas Lauret, Yoann Maestri, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Cedate Gomes Sa, Guilhem Guirado (captain), Jefferson Poirot. Reserves: Camille Chat, Dany Priso, Rabah Slimani, Paul Gabrillagues, Mathieu Babillot, Antoine Dupont, Anthony Belleau, Benjamin Fall.

Argentina: Emiliano Boffelli, Bautista Delguy, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Ramiro Moyano, Nicolas Sanchez, Gonzalo Bertranou; Javier Ortega Desio, Guido Petti, Pablo Matera (captain), Tomas Lavanini, Matias Alemanno, Santiago Medrano, Agustin Creevy, Santiago Garcia Botta. Reserves: Julian Montoya, Juan Pablo Zeiss, Lucio Sordoni, Mariano Galarza, Rodrigo Bruni, Tomas Lezana, Tomas Cubelli, Matias Moroni.

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