France make two changes for England
October 4, 2011
France coach Marc Lievremont has made only two changes for the quarter-final clash against England on Saturday © Getty Images
French coach Marc Lievremont has made just two changes to his starting line-up from the team that lost 19-14 to Tonga last weekend for the World Cup quarter-final against England at Eden Park on Saturday, hoping the internal strife within his Rugby World Cup squad will be the catalyst for a strong performance in Saturday's quarter-final with England in Auckland.
"We did not win the right to be happy," Lievremont said. "I do not think there are internal problems, just a frustration on my part but also the players. And also of shame after the match last Saturday. All this will, hopefully, generate a reaction."
England have experienced numerous on and off-field issues during the tournament, but Lievremont declined the chance to make any inflammatory quips. "I have enough trouble with my group not to poke fun of them. We're under a bit of pressure - it's part of the tournament. It's not huge problems, just a bit of stress and a certain amount of unhappiness with the way the pool matches have been played.
Lievremont added that Les Bleus were just looking to the weekend. "We're putting that behind us and looking forward to the next match. I've still got a great deal of belief in my team, a huge amount of belief in their qualities of rugby players. That hasn't changed."
Returning are prop Nicolas Mas who take his place in the pack after a missing three pool matches with a hamstring injury, while experienced loose forward Imanol Harinordoquy comes into the starting line-up at No. 8 in place of Raphael Lakafia.
Lakafia is dropped from the matchday squad altogether with Louis Picamoles taking Harinordoquy's place on the bench in one of two changes on the bench.
Centre Fabrice Estebanez, who featured in the matchday squad for all four of France's pool games, was not available for selection after being banned for three weeks for a dangerous tackle in the 19-14 loss to Tonga. His place on the bench goes to Perpignan centre David Marty.
Morgan Parra, who started the campaign in his more usual scrum-half position, retains the starting fly-half spot for the third successive match after defeats to hosts New Zealand and Tonga.
France: M Medard, V Clerc, A Rougerie, M Mermoz, A Palisson, M Parra, D Yachvili, J-B Poux, W Servat, Nicolas Mas, P Pape, L Nallet, J Bonnaire, I Harinordoquy, T Dusautoir (captain)
Replacements: D Szarzewski, F Barcella, J Pierre, L Picamoles, F Trinh-Duc, D Marty, C Heymans.
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