Pelous set to equal Sella record
August 10, 2007
Fabien Pelous will make his return to international rugby tomorrow after being named in France's team for the World Cup warm-up match against England at Twickenham.
The Toulouse lock, who has not played for Les Bleus since November because of an ankle injury, will this weekend equal Philippe Sella's national record of 111 caps when he partners Jerome Thion in the second row.
Prop Pieter De Villiers sustained a calf injury in training on Thursday and has been left out of the 22 completely.
Nicolas Mas, who is not part of France's 30-man World Cup party but has been training with Les Bleus over the past fortnight, has been drafted in and will start on the bench.
Star centre Yannick Jauzion, who has been troubled with a back injury this week, has been named in the starting XV but will take a fitness test on the morning of the match.
If Jauzion fails his test, Damien Traille - who is not in the current squad of 22 - will be called into the team to partner David Marty in midfield.
Les Bleus have decided to go with the David Skrela-Pierre Mignoni combination at half-back, meaning Toulouse duo Frederic Michalak and Jean-Baptiste Elissalde have to settle for a place on the bench.
Aurelien Rougerie has been given the nod over Cedric Heymans on the wing.
Heymans will act as cover for full-back and the wing, while Stade Francais back-row forward Remy Martin is back in the team after missing the RBS 6 Nations Championship through injury.
Julien Bonnaire moves from flanker to number eight to accommodate the arrival of Martin.
The France camp confirmed today that De Villiers had felt pain in his calf at the end of yesterday's training session, and again this morning.
An MRI scan revealed the Stade Francais player had suffered a slight calf strain and he was pulled out of the squad as a precaution after medical advice.
Les Bleus team manager Jo Maso said: ``It is preferable that Pieter is treated and relaxes - we are lucky that we are able to draw from our group of 30 players to replace him for this game.''
De Villiers added: ``I am obviously disappointed but it is better that I take a break from the squad so I am in a better condition to dispute the next few games.
``Jean-Baptiste (Poux) is going to start. I am very happy for him and I wish all my colleagues the best for the match.''
The Twickenham clash is France's first warm-up game in August.
They play England again in Marseille next weekend, before taking Wales on in Cardiff the weekend after.
France have named the following team for the World Cup warm-up match against England at Twickenham tomorrow:
C Poitrenaud; V Clerc (both Toulouse), D Marty (Perpignan), Y Jauzion (Toulouse), A Rougerie (Clermont-Auvergne); D Skrela (Stade Francais), P Mignoni (Clermont-Auvergne); O Milloud (Bourgoin), R Ibanez (Wasps, capt), J-B Poux, F Pelous (both Toulouse), J Thion, S Betsen (both Biarritz), R Martin (Stade Francais), J Bonnaire (Bourgoin).
Replacements: D Szarzewski (Stade Francais), N Mas (Perpignan), S Chabal (Sale), Y Nyanga, J-B Elissalde, F Michalak, C Heymans (all Toulouse).
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