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International Rugby


2011 World Cup: Chabal, Jauzion and Poitrenaud out; Lakafia, Picamoles and Heymans in

11 May 2011

Sebastien Chabal
Dropped: Sébastien Chabal will not be
going to the 2011 World Cup
Photo: Eoin Mundow/Cleva Media

Sébastien Chabal, Yannick Jauzion and Clément Poitrenaud have all been jettisoned from France's 2011 World Cup squad.

The experienced trio - who boost 176 caps between them - have all paid for indifferent club and international form this season.

Head coach Marc Lièvremont said insisted Chabal had been dropped for sporting reasons alone, denying the Federation Francais de Rugby (FFR) had put pressure on him not to select the Racing-Métro star following his recent criticism of referees. Chabal, capped 62 times, can play either at lock or number eight and has effectively been replaced by two players in Lièvremont's squad - Louis Picamoles and Raphael Lakafia.



News: Gutted Haskell admits to uncertainty over his England future

21 March 2011

Uncertain future:
James Haskell
Photo: Michael Paler

Stade Francais flanker James Haskell has admitted that Saturday's defeat by Ireland could be his last game for England in the RBS Six Nations.

The versatile back-rower has had an outstanding tournament for Martin Johnson's team, but his future involvement with England beyond the World Cup remains in doubt.

Haskell is currently in contract negotiations with Stade Francais about activating his option for another year with the Parisians, while other leading French clubs - including Stade Toulousain and Clermont Auvergne - are ready to pounce should he choose to move elsewhere.

The former Wasps star is widely admired in France and has made no secret of his desire to remain in Top 14 despite the RFU's decision only to pick players based outside England (after the World Cup later this season) in "exceptional circumstances".  



RBS Six Nations: Nallet double lifts spirits with 28-9 win, but can't mask French failings

20 March 2011

France lock Lionel Nallet celebrates
Double locked:
France's Lionel Nallet
Photo: Eoin Mundow
/Cleva Media

Former skipper Lionel Nallet scored two tries as France beat Wales 28-9 to end a traumatic week on a relative high.

Their comprehensive victory also featured a try from Stade Toulousain winger Vincent Clerc and 13 points from the boot of Morgan Parra as they did enough to finish second in this season's RBS Six Nations tournament.

Giant lock Nallet admitted afterwards that the scars of last weekend's 22-21 loss in Italy were still at the front of his haunted mind, but said victory against Wales was at least a step in the right direction.

"We won today but we haven't forgotten that only six players paid for our collective failure," said the Racing lock.

"Anyone of us could have been one of those six that had to leave," added the 34-year-old.


RBS Six Nations: Fear and loathing as England go for Grand Slam decider

18 March 2011

Stade Francais and England flanker James Haskell
Blooming rose:
James Haskell
Photo: Michael Paler

Stade Francais flanker James Haskell is relishing Saturday's Irish showdown as England try and complete the Six Nations Grand Slam.

"There's going to be nerves, there's going to be fear but there's going to be excitement too, and it's all about getting that balance right," said the versatile back-rower.

Haskell has been one of the standout performers in England's so-far unbeaten campaign - along with club colleague Tom Palmer - but said there was still room for massive improvement - both personally and as a team.

The 25-year-old has grabbed the opportunity provided by Tom Moody's injury-enforced absence, and was Man-of-the-Match in England's gritty victory against Scotland last weekend.


RBS Six Nations: Dusautoir calls for French pride; Parra admits "we were total idiots"

18 March 2011

Thierry Dusautoir
Photo: Eoin Mundow/Cleva Media

France captain Thierry Dusautoir has attempted to unify his squad with a rallying call for national pride to be restored following their Italian humiliation.

The 29-year-old admitted to personal and collective failings in Rome, but urged his team to emerge stronger after a week of intense media criticism.

France take on Wales in Paris on Saturday night and Dusautoir said the match presents a perfect opportunity for his players to respond after last weekend's 22-21 defeat.

"There is a desire to rediscover some form of respect in our game and for our adversary, to get really involved in the game," he said. "You often learn from one's errors and we have been given another lesson in that. We are going through a difficult period. I think we will emerge from it stronger," added the Stade Toulousain flanker.


RBS Six Nations: Williams to miss Paris swansong; Lièvremont 'sorry'

16 March 2011

Welsh winger Shane Williams
Injured: Welsh wing
wizard Shane Williams
Photo: Michael Paler

Wales' record try-scorer Shane Williams has been ruled out of Saturday's clash with France in Paris - a match he said would be his last in the RBS Six Nations.

The 34-year-old picked up a knee injury in his team's 19-13 weekend win against Ireland and is now likely to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Williams had previously stated that he plans to retire from international rugby after the World Cup later this year, although he has recently softened his stance to the 'never say never' variety.

Furious Lièvremont discards six

"Unfortunately, I am getting older and there are boys pushing for my position. I don't want to say I'm never going to play for Wales again after this year because if need be I'll be there. But you have to be realistic and I'll be 35 next year. It's only so long you can be at the top of your game at this level," said the Wales and Ospreys star.


RBS Six Nations: Marty, Traille and Palisson start in revamped French side against Wales

15 March 2011

France centre David Marty in action
Centre of attention:
Perpignan's David Marty
Photo: Eoin Mundow/Cleva Media

Under-fire France coach Marc Lièvremont has, as expected, rung the changes for his side's Six Nations clash with Wales in Paris on Saturday.

Lièvremont had already signalled his intentions by jettisoning six players after last weekend's humiliating defeat by Italy, and attacking his squad for cowardice in the face of the Azzurri's physical approach.

Out went Sébastien Chabal, Yannick Jauzion, Clément Poitrenaud, Jérôme Thion and Sylvain Marconnet - with Lièvremont claiming their international careers could be over - while Clermont centre Aurélien Rougerie was overlooked due to a forthcoming LNR disciplinary hearing.

Furious Lièvremont discards six

As a result Lièvremont has named a new-look centre pairing of Damien Traille and the recalled David Marty, while Brive's Alexis Palisson comes in for Yoann Huget on the wing as the Bayonne man drops to the bench.


RBS Six Nations: Jauzion, Chabal and Poitrenaud face World Cup disappointment

14 March 2011

France head coach Marc Lièvremont
Betrayed: France's
 Marc Lièvremont
Photo: Eoin Mundow
/Cleva Media

The international futures of Sébastien Chabal, Yannick Jauzion, Clément Poitrenaud, Jérôme Thion and Sylvain Marconnet have all been cast in doubt after the quintet were dropped in the aftermath of France's shock 22-21 defeat by Italy on Saturday.

Under-pressure head coach Marc Lièvremont laid the blame for the result squarely on his players' shoulders, adding that several have played their last game in French colours - at least while he remains at the helm.

"They are lacking in in courage. They are good guys but cursed with what is obviously cowardice," lamented Lièvremont.

"They betrayed us, they have betrayed me and they have betrayed the French national team shirt. In terms of tactics deployed it defied belief. I did not recognize anything in their performance that we had worked on.


Six Nations: Shocked Lièvremont blasts players for lacking the fight

12 March 2011

France head coach Marc Lièvremont
Under pressure:
Marc Lièvremont
Photo: Eoin Mundow
/Cleva Media

France coach Marc Lièvremont admitted to "huge disillusionment" after watching his side crash to a 22-21 defeat against Italy in Rome.

The French outscored their hosts by two tries to one, but still went down to their first ever Six Nations defeat against the Italians. Indeed, it was only their second loss in 32 games against the Azzurri, and comes hot on the heels of France's defeat at Twickenham two weeks ago.

Lièvremont's indecision hurting France

It adds up to a worrying picture for last season's Grand Slam champions, especially when added to their summer humbling by Argentina, and their woeful capitulation against Australia in November.

Lièvremont is sure to take the brunt of the inevitable flak that will surely follow, with the next week likely to be one of the longest in his four-year tenure.


RBS Six Nations: Lièvremont's indecision leads to muddled selection for 'Les Bleus'

10 March 2011

Morgan Parra in action for France
Benched: Morgan Parra
Photo: Eoin Mundow/Cleva Media

The 2011 Rugby World Cup is now just six months away, but far from finalizing his line-up it appears that France head coach Marc Lièvremont is becoming increasingly mired down by indecision.

Twelve months ago 'les Bleus' were sweeping all before them amid of a tide of optimism as they headed towards the Grand Slam, but this time around the coach's constant chopping and changing is betraying a general mood of uncertainty.

Lièvremont may be sure of his front five - although he even tweaked that for Saturday's clash with Italy - but his dithering over the key positions of number eight, scrum-half and full-back belies an underlying confusion.

Stade Toulousain's Maxime Médard returns as full-back against the Azzurri after proving his fitness last weekend, but the in-form flyer has been used more on the wing that at No 15 by his club this season, with Guy Noves preferring Clément Poitrenaud at the rear.


RBS Six Nations: Lièvremont turns to experience for England clash at Twickenham

22 February 2011

France No 8 Sebastien Chabal
Recalled: No 8
Sébastien Chabal
Photo: Eoin Mundow
/Cleva Media

France head coach Marc Lièvremont has turned to experience for his team's Championship showdown with England at Twickenham on Saturday.

Dimitri Yachvili, Yannick Jauzion, Vincent Clerc and Sébastien Chabal have all been recalled in a revamped starting XV, which also sees Maxime Médard move from wing to full-back with Clement Poitrenaud dropping to the bench.

The recalled quarter have more than 200 caps between them, with Lièvremont clearly believing that Twickenham won't be for the faint-hearted.

Biarritz scrum-half Yachvili comes in for Clermont Auvergne youngster Morgan Parra, with Jauzion replacing Damien Traille and Clerc filling the wing vacancy created by Médard's move to full-back.


Six Nations: Nallet claims France are underdogs; Johnson ignores enmity

22 February 2011

Lionel Nallet
Imposing figure: Lionel Nallet
celebrates 2010's Grand Slam
Photo: Eoin Mundow/Cleva Media

Former France captain Lionel Nallet claims the Grand Slam champions will go to Twickenham on Saturday as underdogs.

Both England and France have won their opening two Six Nations matches, but Nallet believes home advantage will give England the pre-match edge.

"The English are on the up and we, well we are going there as underdogs," he admitted.

"We still have in our heads memories of the summer tour and the Australian experience. It is vital we take on the English with an inferiority complex while still retaining the lessons of these dispiriting losses.

"Just because we have won two Six Nations matches doesn't mean that everything is going smoothly and that those type of defeats can't happen again," he added.


Six Nations: Lièvremont admits that French "don't like insular English"

21 February 2011

France head coach Marc Lievremont
Outspoken: France
 coach Marc Lièvremont
Photo: Eoin Mundow
/Cleva Media

France head coach Marc Lièvremont has ensured he and his team get a vociferous reception at Twickenham on Saturday after admitting they don't overly care for their Anglo-Saxon neighbours.

His exact words were actually somewhat stronger, with the former France winger declaring: "We don't like them, and it's better to say that than be hypocritical".

Lièvremont's comments were made from the sanctuary of France's national training base at Marcoussis - on the outskirts of Paris - and it's not clear whether they were intended to boost his own team, or rile their in-form opponents.

Both teams go into the weekend clash knowing the victor will probably claim this year's Six Nations championship, and possibly the Grand Slam, and Lièvremont is clearly trying to avoid a repeat of the French side's no-show when they were thrashed 34-10 in the corresponding fixture two years ago.


RBS Six Nations: Dusautoir ecstatic after French win, but Lièvremont plays the Grinch

14 February 2011

Marc Lièvremont
Photo: Michael Paler

France recorded their eighth successive victory in the Six Nations when they beat Ireland on Sunday, but there were contrasting emotions afterwards from skipper (Thierry Dusautoir) and coach (Marc Lièvremont).

Dusautoir praised his team's solidarity as they hung on to beat Ireland 25-22 despite being outscored by three tries to one, whereas Lièvremont systematically picked apart the French performance.

"We are really happy," Dusautoir told the BBC. "It was really important to win. We did it, but it was really tough. I don't think it was the game of the year but it was very important to win.

"We stayed in the game and scored a lot of penalties, but we scored just one try and the Irish scored three, that's why it stayed tight to the end of the game. I'm really proud of my team, it's never easy to play in Ireland," added the inspirational France captain.


RBS Six Nations: Médard scores again as France beat Ireland 25-22 at the Aviva

13 February 2011

Franec scrum-half Morgan Parra
Morgan Parra
kicked 15 points
Photo: Eoin Mundow
/Cleva Media

Ireland 22 (15)
France 25

France beat Ireland 25-22 at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday as they took a massive step towards becoming the first side to defend their title after winning the Grand Slam in the Six Nations era.

Sunday's victory made it nine wins from their last 10 games against Ireland, and now sets up a mouth-watering clash with England in two weeks time as this year's championship decider.

The Irish started in traditionally frantic fashion and it took the marauding green masses just three minutes to grab the game's opening try when Fergus McFadden touched down after mounting pressure. Jonathan Sexton duly kicked the conversion to put the hosts 7-0 up, but France soon found their feet and got themselves on the scoreboard when Morgan Parra slotted a straightforward 12th-minute penalty.


Six Nations: England winger Ashton writes himself into the record books

13 February 2011

Try-scorer: James Haskell got
one of England's eight tries
Photo: Michael Paler

Winger Chris Ashton ran in four of England's eight tries as Martin Johnson's team thrashed Italy 59-13 at Twickenham on Saturday.

The Northampton flyer became the first player since Ronald Poulton in 1914 to score four tries in a Championship match, and has already equalled the individual tournament record of six tries in one season.

The free-scoring winger even indulged his passion for the 'swallow dive' celebration, although it's hard to mark a man down after such a bravura performance.

Ashton set England on their way with this opening effort after just three minutes, adding another before the break and then a further brace in the second period. He was backed up in the try stakes by scores from Mark Cueto - his first for England in 19 matches - Mike Tindall, Danny Care and James Haskell.


Six Nations: Haskell retains starting berth as Palmer's stature grows

11 February 2011

Stade Francais and England lock Tom Palmer
"The complete
forward" - Tom Palmer
Photo: Michael Paler

Stade Francais duo James Haskell and Tom Palmer both retained their starting positions in the England XV to play Italy at Twickenham on Saturday.

Palmer has become the bedrock of the England second row was never in doubt of missing out, but Haskell's inclusion is reward for a good Championship opener against Wales as he was preferred to Hendre Fourie.

Fit-again Fourie is a specialist open-side flanker, but Haskell's impressive performance in Cardiff persuaded England manager Martin Johnson to name an unchanged starting XV against Italy. Fourie does make the match-day 22, however, displacing Wasps' Joe Worsley. 


RBS Six Nations: Ireland out to repay Kidney's faith against rejuvenated France

10 February 2011

Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll
Photo: Michael Paler

Ireland and France go head-to-head in Dublin on Sunday with both sides showing just one change from their opening victories last weekend.

France have overcome the loss of injured centre Maxime Mermoz by moving Damien Traille from full-back and bringing in Stade Toulousain's silky runner Clément Poitrenaud.

Ireland head coach Declan Kidney has brought back fit-again Jamie Heaslip at No 8, with Sean O'Brien moving over to blindside flanker and Denis Leamy dropping to the bench.

"I wasn't satisfied with the way we played against Italy. We can play a lot better," said Kidney. "But the players performed in such a way that meant they deserved another go," he added.


International: Weighty problems for dropped French centre Mathieu Bastareaud

09 February 2011

Stade Francais centre Mathieu Bastareaud
Down and very much out: Mathieu Bastareaud
Photo: Eoin Mundow/Cleva Media

Dropped France centre Mathieu Bastareaud appears to have blown his hopes of an international recall - or at least while Marc Lièvremont remains in charge of the national team.

The hulking centre was an integral part of France's 2010 Grand Slam but has been conspicuous by his absence in his country's squad this time around.

The 22-year-old looked set for a dazzling future after scoring three tries in his seven caps to date, even managing to overcome a headline grabbing incident when he falsely told New Zealand police he had been mugged while on tour with 'Les Bleus'. The ensuing media storm culminated in claims that Bastareaud had contemplated suicide after his return to France, but Lièvremont showed a paternal touch and brought the talented youngster back into the fold for the 2010 Six Nations after forgiving his "naivety".


Six Nations: Poitrenaud in at full-back as Lièvremont moves Traille to inside centre

08 February 2011

France international Damien Traille in action
Mr Versatile: Damien Traille will play in his
third different position in his last three games
Photo: Eoin Mundow/Cleva Media

Head coach Marc Lièvremont has made just one personnel change to France's starting XV for Sunday's clash with Ireland in Dublin, with Clément Poitrenaud coming in for the injured centre Maxime Mermoz.

Mermoz dislocated his shoulder in France's 34-21 home win against Scotland, forcing Lièvremont to re-jig his centre partnership once more. Although he recalled veteran international Yannick Jauzion to his match-day squad the head coach has resisted putting his straight back in his starting XV, instead opting to move Traille from full-back to inside centre, with Poitrenaud coming in at No 15.


Six Nations: France recall Jauzion after season-ending injury for centre Mermoz

07 February 2011

Stade Toulousain and France centre Yannick Jauzion
Recalled: Toulouse's
Yannick Jauzion
Photo: Eoin Mundow
/Cleva Media

France have recalled Yannick Jauzion in place of injured centre Maxime Mermoz for their weekend trip to Ireland.

Mermoz was forced off with a shoulder problem during France's 34-21 home win against Scotland on Saturday, and tests have now revealed "severe ligament damage".

The 24-year-old is now expected to undergo surgery early this week and is facing a three-month lay-off that will effectively end his season.

It is a cruel blow for the Perpignan centre after he had dislodged Jauzion to earn his first start in more than a year 'Les Bleus'.

Now, however, his World Cup participation has been called into question, with France set to name their 30-man squad in May for the September competition.

One man's loss is another's gain though, with Jauzion named as the only change to France's 22-man squad to take on Ireland. The veteran international, 32, now looks set to add to his 70 international caps just days after appearing to be cast aside by Lièvremont.


Six Nations: Trinh-Duc and Médard inspire France to 34-21 opening win

05 February 2011

France winger Maxime Medard in action
Try-scorer: France winger
Maxime Médard
Photo: Eoin Mundow
/Cleva Media

France 34 (17)
Scotland 21

Defending champions France played some pulsating rugby as they opened their Six Nations defence with a 34-21 home win against Scotland.

Marc Lièvremont's team had gone into the match openly voicing a lack of confidence following their 59-16 mauling by Australia in November, but 'Les Bleus' got off to the best possible start when winger Maxime Médard touched down in just the second minute.

Médard was one of four changes to the starting XV which was humiliate by the Wallabies, and the free-scoring Stade Toulousain star continued his remarkable season by claiming his 16th try in 24 matches in all competitions this season.

His latest effort was sparked by fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc putting in a massive hit on Nick De Luca, who subsequently spilt the ball and allowed towering centre Aurélien Rougerie to pick up and slip in a neat grubber kick which Médard finished with minimal fuss.


Six Nations: Yannick Jauzion out as Marc Lièvremont re-jigs back line

02 February 2011

Thierry Dusautoir with 6 Nations Trophy
Defending champions: France captain
Thierry Dusautoir with the trophy
Photo: Michael Paler

France head coach Marc Lièvremont has once more tinkered with his back line ahead of their RBS Six Nations opener at home to Scotland on Saturday.

The under-pressure coach, still reeling from France's November humiliation by Australia, has dropped veteran centre Yannick Jauzion (77 caps) in favour of Perpignan's Maxime Mermoz (seven caps).

That was one of four changes to the starting XV which crumbed so poorly against the Wallabies - losing 59-16 - with fit-again fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc returning at fly-half, utility back Damien Traille moving to No 15, in-form winger Maxime Médard coming in for Alexis Palisson and Biarritz skipper Imanol Harinordoquy getting the nod at number eight ahead of Sébastien Chabal.

Jauzion's omission from the entire match-day squad is certainly the biggest surprise, with the Stade Toulousain star paying the price for his disappointing form during the November internationals.


Six Nations: Haskell and Palmer make England starting XV, but Wilkinson on bench

03 February 2011

England flanker James Haskell
England starter:
James Haskell
Photo: Michael Paler

Stade Francais duo James Haskell and Tom Palmer have both been named in England's starting XV for Friday night's Cardiff clash with Wales.

But there was no place for Toulon fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, with England manager Martin Johnson preferring Leicester's Toby Flood for the RBS Six Nations opener.

Haskell usually plays blind-side flanker but has been recalled to the starting line-up in place of injured skipper Lewis Moody at open-side.

Palmer, who this week admitted he was contemplating a contract extension at Stade Francais, continues his run of starts in the second row and will lead the England lineout.

Johnson has named veteran centre Mike Tindall as captain against Wales, with Northampton flanker Tom Wood also earning an international debut due to Hendre Fourie's injury.


Feature: Franck Mesnel on Grand Slams, Wilko and 'Le Showbizz'

By Colin Spiro, 19 March 2010

Franck Mesnel
'The epitome of French
coolness and class'
Photo: Eden Park

On the eve of France's Grand Slam showdown with England FRC talks to former France fly-half (and Grand Slam winner) Franck Mesnel.

Franck Mesnel was once dubbed ?the epitome of French coolness and class?, and it?s certainly hard to refute that tribute, although you won?t find him draped around an espresso in a Paris café puffing away happily on a Gitanes. The coffee, the café and Paris, yes, but smoking is not on the Mesnel agenda.

He looks as fit and fresh now, aged 48, as he did in his prime ? and what a prime! Mesnel trained as an architect but found himself at the centre, or rather fly-half, of the now famed back quintet at Paris side Racing Club de France (now known as Racing-Metro 92) that gave birth to the sobriquet ?Le Showbizz? in the mid 1980s. Not satisfied with playing a flair minded counter-attack game, the capital?s then number one club also took to indulging in a number of ?jokes? while simultaneously engaged in all the seriousness that was and remains French club rugby.


RBS Six Nations: Wilko and out - England ring the changes as Paris nightmare looms

17 March 2010

Dropped England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson
Jonny Wilkinson
Photo: Michael Paler

One-time golden boy Jonny Wilkinson has been unceremoniously dumped by England as manager Martin Johnson has rung the changes for Saturday's Paris showdown with France.

Wilkinson, 30, has paid the price for a mounting media campaign which has primarily blamed the former World Cup hero for England's stale and static rugby.

It appears the Toulon fly-half has been made the scapegoat for a team which has continually under-performed, with Leicester Tigers' Toby Flood named in his place for the weekend match against Grand Slam chasing France.

Paris when it sizzles can be a daunting venue at the best of times, but Saturday night is bound to be a highly charged affair as Marc Lièvremont's team go in search of revenge (for last year's 34-10 defeat) and a first Grand Slam since 2004.


Bastareaud back as confident France go in search of revenge and the Grand Slam

16 March 2010

France centre Mathieu Bastareaud
Back in blue:
Mathieu Bastareaud
Photo: Michael Paler

Grand Slam-chasing France have made just one change for their weekend clash with England, recalling rested centre Mathieu Bastareaud in place of David Marty.

Perpignan's Marty did nothing wrong as he ran in two tries against Italy in Sunday's 46-20 demolition, but coach Marc Lièvremont was always going to turn to Bastareaud as 'Les Bleus' push for their first Grand Slam since 2004.

The Stade Francais youngster has been one of the players of the tournament so far and only sat out the Italy match as a precaution ahead of the England game.

His bulk, power and speed combine to make him a near unstoppable man-mountain in the centres, where he is already building up an excellent rapport with Stade Toulousain's Yannick Jauzion.


RBS 6 Nations: France unchanged for Grand Slam showdown after dispatching Italy

15 March 2010

Four down, one to go: France kept their Grand Slam hopes
alive with a 46-20 home win against Italy in Paris
Photo: Michael Paler

France coach Marc Lièvremont has named an unchanged 23-man squad for their Grand Slam showdown with England following 'Les Bleus' emphatic 46-20 home win against Italy on Sunday.

France rain in six tries as they dominated Italy in Paris, with David Marty (2), Imanol Harinordoquy, Marc Andreu, Yannick Jauzion and Alexandre Lapandry all crossing before Italy rallied with two late scores from Carlo Del Fava and Pablo Canavosio.


RBS Six Nations: France out to lift the roof against Wales at the Millennium Stadium

26 February 2010

Welsh winger Shane Williams in action
Welsh threat:
Shane Williams
Photo: Michael Paler

The roof will be closed in Cardiff tonight, but such is the expectancy and excitement surrounding the Wales v France clash it might prove impossible to keep a lid on both the game and the Millennium Stadium.

It's always risky to predict a classic encounter, with sport notoriously fickle in its treatment of certainties, but there is little doubt that the intensity of this match will rival anything seen in this season's RBS Six Nations.

France arrive buoyed by back-to-back wins over Scotland (9-18) and Ireland (33-10), and in search of another victory to maintain hopes of a first Grand Slam since 2004. They have been the form team of the tournament so far, and have an awesome pack ready to power its way to forward dominance whoever the opposition. Earlier this season they gave World Champions South Africa a lesson in true power play, and Wales will know they must front up in Cardiff to have any chance of victory.


RBS Six Nations: France name Fall and Bonnaire in starting XV for Wales clash

22 February 2010

Welsh winger Shane Williams in action
Welsh threat:
 Shane Williams
Photo: Michael Paler

Injuries to Vincent Clerc and Fulgence Ouedraogo have forced Marc Lièvremont to make two changes to the French starting XV which takes on Wales in Cardiff on Friday night. 

Bayonne's fit-again winger Benjamin Fall - who scored at the weekend - and Clermont Auvergne's Julien Bonnaire have been named as their replacements, former Under-21's captain Alexandre Lapandry among the subs. Brive winger Alexis Palisson has recovered from the bruised thigh he sustained against Ireland and is set to start, with Julien Malzieu once more on the bench.

Scotland 9 France 18 / France 33 Ireland 10

Veteran Stade Francais prop Sylvain Marconnet was also ruled out of the match due to injury, paving the way for Stade Toulousain's Jean-Baptiste Poux to join the replacements.


News: Toulouse boss Noves fumes at being denied Jean-Baptiste Poux

17 February 2010

Stade Toulousain's injured scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde
International casualty:
Jean-Baptiste Elissalde
Photo: Michael Paler

France have named an unchanged squad for their clash with Wales in 10 days? time, but Stade Toulousain coach Guy Noves is far from impressed by the management of one particular player after he was refused permission to include prop Jean-Baptiste Poux in his weekend squad to play Toulon in Top 14.

Poux was called up to the France squad after an injury to Luc Ducalcon, but the Stade player didn?t feature at all against Ireland last weekend, paving the way for Noves? request to play him against Toulon.

Top 14 Table  / Top 14 try-scorers / Top 14 Results / Top 14 Fixtures

He initially met with a favourable response and Poux duly trained with the Stade squad on Monday, only for the LNR to later issue a statement that said it forbade such an arrangement as it would be unfair on other clubs missing international players.


15.02.10 - RBS Six Nations: Nervous England squeeze past determined Italy to register second win
14.02.10 - RBS 6 Nations: France target Grand Slam after dismantling champions Ireland 33-10 in Paris
13.02.10 - RBS 6 Nations: Parra's cheating claims add further spice to France-Ireland showdown
12.02.10 - RBS Six Nations: Jonny Wilkinson and Riki Flutey - the start of a beautiful relationship?
11.02.10 - Joe (El-Abd) Blogs: Siege mentality will help England, but France are still my favourites
10.02.10 - RBS 6 Nations: Marconnet, Palisson and Clerc in as France make changes for Ireland
10.02.10 - RBS Six Nations: Fit-again Flutey named in England's starting XV
08.02.10 - RBS 6 Nations: Mathieu Bastareaud double hastens public redemption for French centre
06.02.10 - RBS Six Nations: James Haskell double earns England a 30-17 home win against Wales
05.02.10 - RBS Six Nations: England turn to Toby Flood after late Riki Flutey injury
05.02.10 - RBS 6 Nations: France turn to Frédéric Michalak after Jean-Baptiste Elissalde injury
03.02.10 - RBS 6 Nations: Poitrenaud, Bastareaud and Rougerie in France starting XV for Scotland
30.01.10 - RBS 6 Nations: Pierre replaces injured Millo-Chluski; Lièvremont targets the Grand Slam
21.02.10 - International: Mathieu Bastareaud called up as Marc Lièvremont goes back to the future 
23.12.09 - International: Julien Dupuy's ban opens door for Frédéric Michalak and Dimitri Yachvili
30.11.09 - International: France lick their wounds as Graham Henry praises "special" All Blacks
28.11.09 - International: Five-try All Blacks gain sweet revenge in Marseille massacre
27.11.09 - International: In-form France ready for All Black challenge in Marseille
25.11.09 - News: 'Prototype' Barcella leads French revolution; Kelleher tips NZ
25.11.09 - News: Lièvremont makes seven changes for France starting XV against the All Blacks
24.11.09 - News: RFU back Johnson; Phillips not picked for England's sevens squad
24.11.09 - News: Nonu credits Lomu inspiration; Lièvremont finally turns to Heymans
21.11.09 - International: Trinh-Duc leads France to seven-try demolition of Samoa
19.11.09 - International: England's Ayoola Erinle vows to fight fire with fire against All Blacks
18.11.09 - International: Ayoola Erinle set for first England start against All Blacks
18.11.09 - International: Debuts for Fall and Lapandry as France make 12 changes for Samoa clash
15.11.09 - News: France make five changes for Samoa; USA beat Uruguay in qualifier
15.11.09 - News: Under-pressure Martin Johnson admits Twickenham boo-boys were right
14.11.09 - International: Matt Banahan's late try helps uninspiring England beat Argentina 16-9
13.11.09 - International: France turn on the power to beat world champions South Africa 20-13
13.11.09 - News: France expects; Wilkinson backs England to improve; Samoa target Wales win
11.11.09 - News: Steve Thompson out, James Haskell in as Martin Johnson shuffles the England pack
11.11.09 - News: England call up Doran-Jones; France and SA prepare for Friday 13th fright night
11.11.09 - News: Racing's Francois Steyn to play for French Barbarians v Europe XV
10.11.09 - Feature: Ayoola Erinle emerges from the darkness to become centre of attention
09.11.09 - International: Toulon connection adds spice to England v Argentina
09.11.09 - International: Lièvremont opts for power as  David gets the nod to slay Springbok goliaths
08.11.09 - Exclusive: England sevens captain Phillips in club v country conundrum
08.11.09 - International: Jonny Wilkinson's boot not enough to save England against Australia
06.11.09 - International: England's 'Frenchies' out to prove the doubters wrong at Twickenham
06.11.09 - Exclusive: 'Haskell is playing out of his skin' says house-mate Phillips
05.11.09 - International: French moves helped Wilkinson and Thompson on road to England recalls
03.11.09 - International: Steve Thompson set to start for England; Aussies wary of Jonny Wilkinson
02.11.09 - News: England call up Biarritz centre Erinle; France add Guirado after Ducalcon injury
28.10.09 - News: Lièvremont calls up Michalak and four new caps, but no place for sorry Bastareaud
27.10.09 - News: Injured Lionel Beauxis to miss Tests; Mathieu Bastareaud to say sorry
27.10.09 - News: Wilkinson, Thompson, Haskell and Goode named in Johnson's England squad
21.10.09 - News: Marc Lièvremont still waiting for Mathieu Bastareaud apology
19.10.09 - News: Thierry Dusautoir is new France captain; Karmichael Hunt arrives in Biarritz
30.09.09 - International: French target Williams and Gasnier; Bastareaud escapes ban
08.08.09 - News: Dusautoir pleads for Bastareaud leniency; Tuqiri to stay in Australia
06.08.09 - News: Bastareaud could miss 2011 World Cup after FFR predict three year international ban
29.06.09 - International: Bastareaud hospitalized in Paris with 'severe psychological problems'
27.06.09 - International: Giteau masterclass sinks France; Parisse cited in Italian defeat to All Blacks
27.06.09 - International: Lying Bastareaud - More questions than answers after confession
24.06.09 - News: Tarbes escape relegation to Federale 1; France ring the changes
23.06.09 - International: Battered Bastareaud back in France after street assault
23.06.09 - International: France captain Dusautoir issues 'Les Bleus' rally call
20.06.09 - International: All Blacks edge out France to level series; Dupuy likely to stay at Leicester
18.06.09 - International: History beckons for confident France; Gower starts again
16.06.09 - International: All Blacks and Australia ring the changes; Steyn at full-back
13.06.09 - News: Pumas gain revenge on England; Gower's baptism of fire
13.06.09 - International: 'Les Bleus' leave All Blacks red-faced after stunning 27-22 win in Dunedin
11.06.09 - International: England drop Haskell for Pumas clash; France debutant Dupuy in dreamland
09.06.09 - International: Lobbe targets Pumas' revenge; France looking for an upset
07.06.09 - International: England looking Goode after convincing win over Argentina
07.06.09 - News: Clermont's Rougerie, Bonnaire and Floch pull out of France's summer tour
04.06.09 - International: Distinct Gallic flavour to England-Argentina clash at Twickenham
03.06.09 - International: Toulon's May handed England debut; Bayonne's Gower set for Italy start
02.06.09 - News: Collins tells Australian press to 'lay off' SBW; Marshall calls for Barbarians to play the All Blacks
01.06.09 - News: Phillips named as IRB's Sevens Player of Year; SBW relishing Wallaby challenge
27.05.09 - News: England name five France-based players; Wilkinson mania erupts in Toulon
26.05.09 - News: Wilko expected in Toulon on Wednesday; Injuries force France to make three changes
19.05.09 - News: Three Brive players in England squad as Thompson gets a recall
19.05.09 - International: Dupuy set for French call up; Gower gets nod for Italian job
24.03.09 - Paul Dearlove's column: Only four British  and Irish Lions would get into my World XV 
23.03.09 - News: Perpignan's Hines joins history man Flutey as Lions name 'beasts' for South Africa tour
23.03.09 - Six Nations: Seven-try Italian job only serves to highlight French inconsistencies
20.03.09 - Six Nations: Nervous French seek gladiator spirit for Roman redemption against Italy
19.03.09 - Six Nations - Furious Lièvremont offers Rome redemption for humiliated French
17.03.09 - Six Nations: Lièvremont calls up Michalak for the first time after Tillous-Borde injury
16.03.09 - Six Nations: Dusautoir - 'It makes you weep... it was complete humiliation'
01.04.09 - News: Ibanez to coach? Ouedraogo commits to Montpellier, sort of...
30.03.09 - News: Collins and Betsen selected for Barbarians; All Blacks confirm SBW interest
15.03.09 - Six Nations: Five-star England send feeble France packing in Twickenham humiliation
12.03.09 - Six Nations: 'Versatile' Chabal at flanker as Lièvremont beefs up for England
 05.03.09 - Six Nations: Tinkering Lièvremont rings the changes for England and Italy games
03.03.09 - News: Injury scuppers Elissalde's recall; Fiji bring out the big guns
27.02.09 - Six Nations: French joy after thrilling victory crushes Welsh hopes of another Grand Slam
27.02.09 - Six Nations: France out to defy the odds as confident Wales seek record-equalling win
26.02.09 - News: RFU and Johnson issue 'get tough' policy to players moving to France... sort of
25.02.09 - Six Nations: Lièvremont makes five changes, with Baby a surprise choice at fly-half
24.02.09 - Six Nations: France call up Bastareaud and Trinh-Duc; Wales name Williams and Henson
18.02.09 - Former France captain Ibanez retires; Haskell denies money was motivation
17.02.09 - Six Nations: More front row injury problems as prop Mas is ruled out
14.02.09 - Six Nations: Nervy France fumble their lines on Valentine's date with Scotland in Paris
13.02.09 - Interview: Brive's Welsh international Davies looks ahead to England clash
13.02.09 - Six Nations: Victory is imperative as France seek to bounce back against Scotland
11.02.09 - Six Nations: Dusautoir asks for patience as France seek to add substance to style
10.02.09 - Six Nations: Lièvremont rings the changes for Scotland; Fritz cited for eye-gouging
08.02.09 - Six Nations: Lièvremont "extremely disappointed" after Ireland defeat
08.02.09 - Six Nations: Ireland gain revenge as French mistakes prove costly at Croke Park
06.02.09 - Six Nations preview: A new dawn beckons for Marc Lièvremont's youthful French squad
04.02.09 - Six Nations: Lièvremont happy with selection; Nallet targets victory
04.02.09 - International: England look for the Goode times as they turn to Brive's fly-half
02.02.09 - News: Triple injury boost for France; Senio to replace his brother at Clermont Auvergne  
29.01.09 - France drop Elissalde and recall Harinordoquy; Umaga set to play
28.01.09 - International: Chabal targets World Cup; Lièvremont calls up Trinh-Duc
22.01.09 - International: Michalak vows to win his place back after being overlooked
29.12.09 - IRB to investigate Tincu affair after Perpignan hooker plays in Top 14
24.11.08 - Springbok Habana wants to play in Top 14; Williams wins IRB Player of the Year award
24.11.08 - International: Skrela takes ?100 per cent? blame for Aussie defeat
23.11.08 - International: Skrela?s nightmare hands Aussies a narrow Paris win
20.11.08 - McKenzie lavishes praise on Gasnier; Picamoles out for Australian revenge
19.11.08 - Exclusive:  Interview with International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset, Part III
19.11.08 - International: Chabal and Tillous-Borde in France?s starting XV against Australia
18.11.08 - International: France call up Tomas for injured scrum-half Elissalde
09.11.08 - International: France give Argentina the boot as ?Les Bleus? win ugly in Marseille
07.11.08 - International: Lièvremont and Heymans vow to set the record straight against Argentina
05.11.08 - International: Médard wins first cap; Lièvremont praises rival Galthie
03.11.08 - International: France add Skrela and Traille; Carter aims for ?Slam?
30.10.08 - International: Toulouse youngster Maxime Medard in France squad
29.10.08 - Exclusive:  Interview with International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset, Part II
21.10.08 - Exclusive:  Interview with International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset
16.10.08 - Argentina name 16 'French' players
07.10.08 - Italy name ten French-based players in 30-man squad
30.09.08 - News: IRB pays tribute to former chairman Dr Roger Vanderfield OBE


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