Lievremont faces selection quandary
May 4, 2010
Marc Lievremont's side face matches against South Africa and Argentina this summer © Getty Images
France coach Marc Lievremont fears the success of clubs Toulouse and Biarritz may come at the expense of the national side.
Toulouse and Biarritz booked their places in this season's Heineken Cup Final with hard-fought victories over Leinster and Munster respectively last weekend and as a result Lievremont fears he may be forced to leave some of his front line players out of the forthcoming tour of South Africa and Argentina to preserve their fitness.
"I am split between wanting to take the players who competed in the Six Nations [winning the Grand Slam] and the desire to leave certain players who have had a very demanding season and who have little niggles that require rest," he told the Sud Ouest newspaper, "and I fear others will pick injuries if they are tired."
France face the Springboks in Cape Town on June 12 before heading to Buenos Aires where they will meet a regional side before playing the Pumas on June 26 and Lievremont fears for the toll on his leading players ahead of next season that will culminate with Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand. "Some deserve to have a real two-month off-season to regenerate themselves one year away from the World Cup," he added. "On the other hand, it's an extremely tough tour."
Asked who he was considering leaving at home this summer, Lievremont hinted that some big names would miss the trip but he acknowledged he was gambling. "I'm thinking of [resting] the older players like William Servat, Sébastien Chabal, Yannick Jauzion and my captain Thierry Dusautoir. And also some of the younger ones like Alexandre Lapandry."
The risk, according to the 41-year-old, would be to "break the cohesion that exists in the squad today".
Lievremont was also full of praise for the achievements of the French clubs in Europe with Toulon also booking a European Challenge Cup Final showdown against Cardiff Blues with victory over Connacht.
"Despite what could be seen as a chaotic organisation, French rugby appears to have found a really positive dynamic," added Lievremont before echoing his fears over the welfare of his player. "As for the demands put on players, I feel we're still asking too much."
Concussion, relegation and the mother of all surprises - it's the Monday Maul.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies