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News: Tarbes escape relegation from ProD2 after cash boost; France ring the changes

24 June 2009

Lannemezan Rugby Club
ProD2 here we come: Jean Prat
Trophy winners Lannemezan
Photo: Colin Spiro

The Midi-Pyrenees derby between Tarbes and Lannemezan will go ahead next season after all following positive outcomes for both clubs in front of the DNACG – the league’s financial watchdog.

Tarbes, who finished 8th in ProD2 last season, had previously been notified of relegation to Federale 1 due to a €470,000 shortfall in their accounts, but that decision has now been reversed after the club came up with the cash.

Lannemezan will also be in ProD2 next season after they made a successful presentation to the DNACG to confirm their financial viability. They qualified for promotion after winning the Jean Prat Trophy to be crowned Federale 1 champions. Runners-up Aix-en-Provence will also be playing in ProD2 next season.

Lannemezan further announced that they expect to confirm up to 15 new signings to strengthen their squad for 2009/10.

The DNACG’s decision to reverse Tarbes’ relegation will be a blow to Beziers, who had hoped to avoid the drop to Federale 1 despite finishing 16th (last) in ProD2 last season.

Elsewhere in ProD2, Lyon OU have signed Racing-Metro’s Tongan back row forward Kelekolio Hehea. The 30-year-old joins fellow new recruits Alexandre Gomez, Mosese Ratovou, Mosese Dunadamu and Dorian Seve.

SCA Albi, who gained promotion from ProD2 to Top 14 after winning the play-offs, have also been busy in the transfer market. They have followed up the signings of SU Agen prop Benjamin Sore and Stade Francais winger Dave Valinqueur with the capture of Pierre Correia. The 26-year-old prop becomes the second player to join Albi from Stade Francais as they seek to build a squad capable of surviving in Top 14.

He is the 10th new recruit confirmed at Albi since they secured promotion.

Over in Australia, meanwhile, France coach Marc Lièvremont has made seven changes to the starting line up for his injury-hit side ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Wallabies.

Most notably ‘Les Bleus’ will field an entirely new half-back combination with Lionel Beauxis and Dimitri Yachvili coming on for Francois Trinh-Duc and Julien Dupuy respectively. Incredibly, it will be the 13th half-back combination of Lièvremont's short time in charge.

The injuries to Louis Picamoles, Yannick Jauzion, Mathieu Bastareaud, Domingo and Sebastien Chabal have prompted further changes, with Bayonne’s Julien Puricelli set to make his first international start at number eight.

Sylvain Marconnet and Dimitri Szarzewski both come in to a revamped front-line, while Pascal Pape is named at lock, alongside Romain Millo-Chluski.

In the backs Damien Traille switches to full-back, with Maxime Medard moved to the wing at the expense of Vincent Clerc. Lièvremont has yet to name his subs, preferring to wait until Friday before naming his seven replacements.

Captain Thierry Dusautoir is one of seven players set to start all three of France’s summer internationals and the Stade Toulousain flanker is desperate to end the grueling season on a high.

France are seeking to end a three-match losing streak against Australia, and are also hunting for their first away win Down Under since 1990.

France XV: Damien Traille, Maxime Medard, Florian Fritz, Maxime Mermoz, Cedric Heymans, Lionel Beauxis, Dimitri Yachvili, Julien Puricelli, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Thierry Dusautoir (capt), Romain Millo-Chluski, Pascal Pape, Sylvain Marconnet, Dimitri Szarzewski, Fabien Barcella.

Assault victim Bastareaud is now back in France and said he was stunned by the level of media interest he has attracted. The 20-year-old released a statement through his club – Stade Francais – saying he was “astonished by the amount of journalists at the airport when I touched down”.

The international centre added: “All that happened was an everyday occurrence which could happen to anybody. Unhappily for me it was my turn this time.”

Perpignan’s Nathan Hines is potentially in hot water after being cited for a dangerous tackle on Wilhelm Steenkamp during the British and Irish Lions 13-13 draw against the Emerging Springboks.

Hines will appear before Judicial Officer Alan Hudson on Wednesday at the offices of the Western province Rugby Union.

Confirmed friendlies:
Biarritz v Clermont Auvergne
Stade Toulousain v Montpellier
Bourgoin v ACT Brumbies (19.30)
Bayonne v ACT Brumbies
Biarritz v Pau (19.00)
SCA Albi v Stade Toulousain (TBC)
Lyon OU v Bourgoin (18.30)
Perpignan v ACT Brumbies (TBC)
Dax v Castres
SCA Albi v Romania
Bayonne v Ulster
Toulon v ACT Brumbies
Clermont Auvergne v Glasgow
Biarritz v Stade Toulousain (20.30)
Bourgoin v Stade Francais (or on the 08.08.09, TBC)
Grenoble v Lyon OU (19.00)
Mont-de-Marsan v Union Bordeaux-Begles (18.30)
SCA Albi v Leicester Tigers or Sale Sharks
Aix-en-Provence v Lyon OU (19.30)
Union Bordeaux-Begles v La Rochelle (18.30)


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