Harinordoquy rejects 'B team' claims
September 21, 2011
Harinordoquy has been named on the bench for the clash with New Zealand © Getty Images
Imanol Harinordoquy has mocked claims that France have deliberately selected a weakened team for Saturday's big World Cup group clash with New Zealand.
The French have been heavily criticised in the local press, who have accused coach Marc Lievremont of trying to engineer an easier route to the final by losing to the All Blacks. Much of the discussion centres on the selection of Morgan Parra at fly-half for what will be his first Test start in the position.
However, many big names have been included in a strong XV - among them captain Thierry Dusautoir, scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili and winger Vincent Clerc.
"People are saying this is a France B team but there is no such thing. There is only the France XV," said Harinordoquy, the 31-year-old No.8 who has been named on the bench. "We have changed our team for each of the two games in the World Cup so far and now the coach has made his choice for this game. The first choice is evolving.
"There is a polemic going on from certain sections of the press. Who are they to say what is the strongest French team? It is not their decision. This is a very strong French selection and I am disappointed not to make the XV, but I am determined to make an impact when I come off the bench."
Of the 22 selected by Lievremont, 14 have finished on a winning side against New Zealand with six having beaten the All Blacks twice.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"I am bored of hearing 'I can't fault the effort'. Let us take that for granted and look for some quality." John Taylor writes
Reports comparing the 2014 Wallabies with their rabble-like predecessors of 2005 are unfair and self-serving, Greg Growden reports
Wales did the All Blacks a favour with their best effort against New Zealand for many years, for 68 minutes at Millennium Stadium, Craig Dowd writes
In the wake of another perfect November series, Monday Maul talks to NZRU CEO Steve Tew about the constant demand for perfection