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French Rugby
Rougerie and Clerc declared fit
ESPNscrum Staff
August 3, 2011
France centre Aurelien Rougerie is tackled during training, France training session, Marcoussis, France, February 1, 2011
Rougerie's return to the fold will be a big boost for Lievremont © Getty Images
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France coach Marc Lievremont has received a huge boost ahead of the World Cup after he welcomed back two of his star players to training this week.

Backs Aurelien Rougerie and Vincent Clerc have both returned to the training paddock after undergoing rehabilitation for their respective injuries. Rougerie fractured his ankle in May while playing for Clermont in the Top 14 and Clerc has undergone surgery on his knee.

And with France due to face Ireland on August 13 - in the first of two warm-up Tests for Les Blues - Lievremont was pleased with the impact Rougerie has made since his return to the fold.

"It is great to have Aurelien back with the squad," said Lievremont. "He has a great appetite and vitality and he is so pleased to be back without any concerns, even if he has not yet been training with opposition.

"His ankle is fine; physically he is sharp because even though he has had to stay on the margins of the squad, he has still followed the training programme. He is an athlete. We can say that he is out of the woods and competitive."

Clerc had his knee cleaned out in a bid to be in peak fitness for the World Cup and has declared the operation a success. "The operation went well although I can't bend my knee until Thursday," Clerc said.

"The injury didn't stop me training and I could have played as well but it might have been a problem later. I missed five days of training but I will get those back."

However, the prognosis is not as positive for front row duo Thomas Domingo and William Servat. While Lievremont is hopeful hooker Servat can recover from his knee injury in time to take part in France's warm-up Tests - the French coach conceded that question marks remained over Domingo's recovery time.

"William has been a little bit slower than Aurelien in his recovery but he is continuing with his fitness work," said Lievremont. "He will miss the first match but could perhaps play in the second."

"As for Thomas, it is a question of time. There is zero chance of seeing him play against Ireland, it would be too big a risk. But he is progressing well and we will soon be able to reintegrate him into actual rugby sessions."

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