Picamoles returns to start for France against Springboks

PARIS (AP) — Louis Picamoles will return to start for France against the Springboks for his first international match since being excluded from the team for disciplinary reasons following a night of drinking in Edinburgh during the Six Nations tournament.

No. 8 Picamoles, who has 69 caps for France, was among a group of players sanctioned in February after they went out drinking following a loss to Scotland.

But the veteran Montpellier forward was included in coach Jacques Brunel's team for France's first November international at the Stade the France. The French will then take on Argentina and Fiji in subsequent November tests.

Stade Francais center Gael Fickou couldn't break into the starting XV despite excellent domestic form and will start on the bench. Arthur Iturria was picked at the expense of Mathieu Babillot on the blindside flank and Maxime Medard will start at fullback.

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