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Fickou and Huget drafted into France team to face Argentina

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Paris (AFP)

France coach Jacques Brunel called up Top 14 leading try-scorer Gael Fickou and the experienced Yoann Huget on Thursday for this weekend's Test against Argentina in Lille.

They are the only two changes to the side that started last weekend's match against South Africa which the French lost in the last minute.

Fickou will start at inside centre against the Pumas, replacing Geoffrey Doumayrou who suffered a concussion against the Springboks.

It will be his first run at centre since the 2017 tour to South Africa, since when he has largely featured on the wing.

"He (Fickou) has started the season very well. He deserves his place," said Brunel.

Since joining Stade Francais this season, a slimmed down Fickou has been in irrepressible form, scoring seven tries in six matches.

"We're aware of Gael's current form which merits a spot in the team so we'll take advantage of his form," said Brunel, who admitted that Doumayrou's knock opened the door for Fickou.

Toulouse winger Huget, meanwhile, gets the chance to add to his 51 caps thanks to the ankle injury that has ruled out Damien Penaud, who played in the 29-26 defeat to South Africa.

The 31-year-old, whose last Test was just over a year ago, appears in a Brunel starting line-up for the first time, having recovered from a knee injury.

"Huget has performed very well this season," said Brunel.

"He wasn't initially selected (in the squad) as he was injured but he recovered much quicker than we expected and that has now allowed him to rejoin the squad."

Versatile Montpellier fullback Benjamin Fall comes onto the bench in the 23-man squad.

France welcome the Pumas to Lille on Saturday before playing Fiji in the final game of their end-of-year series on November 24 in Paris.

France team to play Argentina in Lille:

France (15-1)

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 (capt), Jefferson Poirot

Replacements

Camille Chat, Dany Priso, Rabah Slimani, Paul Gabrillagues, Mathieu Babillot, Antoine Dupont, Anthony Belleau, Benjamin Fall

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