Brunel goes with yet another change in half-backs for Tonga clash

Serin and Ntamack to combine at number 9 and 10 with Poirot to captain the team against Tonga on Sunday after he scored a try off the bench against USA.

TOKYO, 3 Oct - France coach Jacques Brunel has made 11 changes from the team that played the USA in his starting XV for the Pool C match against Tonga at Kumamoto Stadium on Sunday.

Prop Jefferson Poirot, who captains the team, and scrum-half Baptiste Serin, above, both scored as replacements against USA on Wednesday.

The selection of Serin and Romain Ntamack at scrum-half and fly-half, respectively, means that France have selected their third different half-back partnership at Rugby World Cup 2019, and their 16th different half-back partnership in their 43 matches since RWC 2015.

The four players retained from the 33-9 victory in Fukuoka on Wednesday are Camille Chat, Paul Gabrillagues, Sofiane Gitoune and Alivereti Raka.

Poirot and Rabah Slimani are France's starting props for the 19th time. Thomas Domingo and Nicolas Mas (2010-14) are the previous most settled pair of starting props, playing together 24 times.

After two matches, France have nine points and are in second place in Pool C.

Brunel will name the replacements at the official announcement, at Hotel Nikko Kumamoto, on Friday.

France

1. Jefferson Poirot (capt.)
2. Camille Chat
3. Rabah Slimani
4. Paul Gabrillagues
5. Sebastien Vahaamahina
6. Wenceslas Lauret
7. Charles Ollivon
8. Gregorie Alldritt
9. Baptiste Serin
10. Romain Ntamack
11. Alivereti Raka
12. Sofiane Guitoune
13. Virimi Vakatawa
14. Damian Penaud
15. Maxime Medard

RNS ns/ajr