France prepared for tough Islanders test
November 11, 2008
Dimitri Szarzewski (L) talks with flanker Fulgence Ouedraogo (R) during a training session in Marcoussis © Getty Images
France coach Marc Lievremont has made three changes to his team for this weekend's clash with the Pacific Islanders at Stade Auguste Bonal in Sochaux.
Fresh from breaking their Argentina hoodoo in Marseille last weekend, Les Bleus have recalled props Lionel Faure and Nicolas Mas at the expense of Fabien Barcella and Benoit Lecouls while Fulgence Ouedraogo has been drafted in to replace replaced Louis Picamoles. As a result Imanol Harinordoquy switches from flanker to number eight.
Maxime Medard retains his place at fullback after catching the eye in his debut at the Stade Velodrome while the half-back pairing will once again be David Skrela and Jean-Baptiste Elissalde.
"Nicolas Mas played well when he came on (against Argentina) and we wanted to see him from the start," Lievremont said. "Fulgence Ouedraogo is taking over from Louis Picamoles for tactical reasons. The Pacific Islanders are a very dynamic team and we need our third row to be more mobile to counter that.
"We have not changed our backs at all to allow them to work on their understanding during the week," Lievremont said. "(The Pacific Islanders) take risks without really thinking about the consequences. We will certainly be able to play more and try out more things.
"We are readying ourselves for a difficult game against a very good team."
France: Maxime Medard, Cedric Heymans, Yannick Jauzion, Benoit Baby, Julien Malzieu, David Skrela, Jean-Baptiste Elissalde; Lionel Faure, Dimitri Szarzewski, Nicolas Mas, Romain Millo-Chluski, Lionel Nallet, Thierry Dusautoir, Imanol Harinordoquy, Fulgence Ouedraogo.
Replacements: Benjamin Kayser, Benoit Lecouls, Sebastien Chabal, Louis Picamoles, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Sebastien Tillous-Borde, Damien Traille, Alexis Palisson.
Pacific Islanders: Gavin Williams (Samoa), Napolioni Nalaga (Fiji), Seru Rabeni (Fiji), Epi Taione (Tonga), Vilimoni Delasau (Fiji), Seremaia Bai (Fiji), Mosese Rauluni (Fiji), Kas Lealamanua (Samoa), Tanielu Fuga (Samoa), Kisi Pulu (Tonga), Paino Hehea (Tonga), Kele Leawere (Fiji), Hale T Pole (Tonga), Nili Latu (Tonga), Sisa Koyamaibole (Fiji)
Replacements: Sunia Koto (Fiji), Census Johnston (Samoa), Filipo Levi (Samoa), Viliami Vaki (Tonga), Sililo Martens (Tonga), Kameli Ratuvou (Fiji), Seilala Mapusua (Samoa)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Carlo Damasco (Italy)
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9