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France: The team for opening clash!
« on: September 07, 2007, 06:16:25 PM »

France name team for opening clash

France will he hoping to repeat last November's victory over the Pumas when they meet at the Stade de France on Friday.

MARCOUSSIS, 3 September - Team manager Jo Maso on Monday announced the France team for Friday's opening Pool D match against Argentina at the Stade de France.

1 Olivier Milloud - Bourgoin
2 Raphael Ibanez - London Wasps (C)
3 Pieter de Villiers - Stade Français
4 Fabien Pelous - Toulouse
5 Jérome Thion - Biarritz
6 Serge Betsen - Biarritz
7 Remy Martin - Stade Français
8 Imanol Harinordoquy - Biarritz
9 Pierre Mignoni - Clermont
10 David Skrela - Stade Français
11 Christophe Dominici - Stade Français
12 Damien Traille - Biarritz
13 Yannick Jauzion - Toulouse
14 Aurélien Rougerie - Clermont
15 Cédric Heymans - Toulouse

16 Dimitri Szarzewski - Stade Français
17 Jean-Baptiste Poux - Toulouse
18 Sébastien Chabal - Sale
19 Julien Bonnaire - Bourgoin
20 Thierry Dusautoir - Toulouse
21 Jean-Baptiste Elissalde - Toulouse
22 Frédéric Michalak - Toulouse

RNS jo/mr



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Re: France: The team for opening clash!
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2007, 06:18:01 PM »

Inspiring a nation to realise a dream
(Rugby News Service) Thursday 16 August 2007

 Will it be third time lucky for Raphael Ibanez at the World Cup?The deadline for coaches to submit their final 30-man squads for Rugby World Cup 2007 may have only passed on Tuesday, but while others have been enduring a nervous wait to see if they’d done enough to make it, the French players have already known their fate for nearly two months.

That is because coach Bernard Laporte unveiled his selection to the public in mid June when Les Bleus returned from two heavy defeats in New Zealand, maximising the time he could spend working solely with the chosen few.

In the interim the French squad have been leaving no stone unturned in their preparations and fostering team spirit, not to mention capturing the imagination of their rugby loving nation and attracting huge crowds to their training sessions.

Even if that happens to be some 2,000m above sea level in the French Pyrenees with more than 4,000 fans turning up to watch Laporte’s squad go through their paces at high altitude in the village of Font Romeu as they prepared for three Tests in August against England (twice) and Wales.

Squad bonding

“There are two objectives to this phase of intense physical training,” captain Raphael Ibanez told Total Rugby. “First to make sure the players are sufficiently strong and fit to enter the tournament, and also the need to build a team, to shape group spirit. This takes time, even if the players have known each other for a very long time already, we need time amongst ourselves to create the team.”

That spirit will prove vital when Les Bleus carry the dreams of an entire nation on their shoulders who want to see France succeed England as world champions, making the most of home advantage in a tournament where only 1999 hosts Wales have failed to reach at least the semi finals.

“We’re very lucky to be together in a group of 30,” admitted Damien Traille. “We are amazingly fortunate in being able to represent French colours in this World Cup, so very important to us. It’s a World Cup taking place in France, probably the one there will be and the only one we will play, so we might as well make the most of it and give it our best to win the Cup.”

Ibanez, Traille and the rest of the squad happily signed autographs for the watching fans, some of whom had travelled from as far away as Toulouse – more than 400 kilometres away, before setting out on the long road to what they hope will be World Cup glory in Paris on 20 October.

French enthusiasm

The first stop was Twickenham last weekend to face an England side buoyed by a record 62-5 defeat of Wales seven days earlier, but tries from Fabien Pelous – on his record equalling 111th Test for France – and Sebastien Chabal gave Les Bleus a 21-15 victory to Ibanez’s delight.

“After five to six weeks of heavy training there was a question whether we would be fresh enough for a game of rugby, but we’ve come to Twickenham and won this practice game, which is great for the team,” Ibanez admitted.

The two rivals reconvene across the Channel for take two this weekend with Ibanez predicting a warm welcome for the visiting fans as rugby fever builds to a crescendo in Marseille with the start of Rugby World Cup 2007 only 22 days away.

“You’ll discover the enthusiasm that the French fans have for rugby. We’ve seen that during our training, it’s been amazing. They really want to share our passion with the France team. The match in Marseille will be a great rugby event for all the fans.”

Rugby World Cup 2007 will be the third tournament for Ibanez, Pelous and wing Christophe Dominici – not to mention the second for a further 11 members of the squad – and the experienced trio will be hoping to banish the disappointment of losing the 1999 final against Australia.

France squad:

Forwards (17): Pieter de Villiers, Sylvain Marconnet, Olivier Milloud, Jean-Baptiste Poux, Raphael Ibanez, Sebastien Bruno, Dimitri Szarzewski, Sebastien Chabal, Fabien Pelous, Jerome Thion, Lionel Nallet, Serge Betsen, Julien Bonnaire, Imanol Harinordoquy, Thierry Dusautoir, Yannick Nyanga, Remy Martin.

Backs (13): Pierre Mignoni, Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, Frederic Michalak, David Skrela, Lionel Beauxis, Yannick Jauzion, Damien Traille, David Marty, Christophe Dominici, Cedric Heymans, Vincent Clerc, Aurelien Rougerie, Clement Poitrenaud.


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Re: France: The team for opening clash!
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2007, 06:29:29 PM »

Zidane set to swap codes for the day
(Rugby News Service) Thursday 6 September 2007
By Jeremy Inson
From Marseille

5 September - In an attempt to gain a world cup advantage the All Blacks will be locking heads with French world cup winning superstar Zinedine Zidane.

The former Juventus and Real Madrid star, who scored two goals in the 1998 FIFA World Cup final, will meet up with the All Blacks on Thursday as they are based in his home city of Marseille.

Despite being world-class athletes in their own right, the New Zealand players are excited at the prospect of meeting him at the Sofitel Hotel at Palm Beach Marseille.

"I think I will be in awe of him," said full back Mils Muliaina. "I will probably spend most of the time asking him for his autograph."

Fly half Dan Carter is in total agreement with Muliaina about Zidane's standing in the sporting world.

French sporting hero 

"He's a sporting hero. I think he's a very important part of French sport. To meet someone as great as he is will be very special."

Meanwhile full back Leon MacDonald is hoping that Zidane will give some insight into what it takes to win major titles.

"The guys will be honoured," MacDonald said. "It will be nice to hear what he has to say and sit down and have a yarn with him."

Centre Luke McAlister is less aware of Zidane's achievements, but realises what he means to the French people.

"I don' t know too much about him, I only know him from the headbutt (against Italy in the FIFA World Cup 2006 final)," he said. "It will be awesome to meet him, he's huge in France."



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Re: France: The team for opening clash!
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2007, 06:31:04 PM »

French ready to tackle might of Pumas pack
(Rugby News Service) Saturday 1 September 2007
By James Overton

PARIS, 3 September – France's forwards have been working intensively on preparing to overcome the power of the Argentine scrum in the lead-up to Friday's much-anticipated IRB Rugby World Cup opener in Paris.

In what promises to be a bruising encounter at Stade de France, the host nation must win to avoid coming up against New Zealand in the quarter-finals.

France team manager Jo Maso commented: "We know that the Argentine scrum is a major factor in their strength. We will need to adapt."

At training at Marcoussis on Friday, the French forwards used a scrum machine loaded with sandbags and other players to help prepare for the grunt of the Argentine pack.

"We’re putting in some intensive work on our scrum," Bernard Laporte said.

"It’s 20 minutes of concentration and we’re giving it everything."

Argentina will not name their team until 48 hours before kick-off but the French can expect to confront the familiar front row of Rodrigo Roncero, Mario Ledesma and Omar Hasan.
Powerful pair Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe and Patricio Albacete will almost certainly take their place in the second row.

A hamstring injury to No.8 Gonzalo Longo Elia limits the options for Argentine head coach Marcelo Loffreda.

He is likely to draft Juan Martin Lobbe into the starting side to play alongside Juan Manuel Leguizamon and Martin Durand.

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