More Injury Worries For France Ahead Of Their Welsh Assignment
9 February 2002 20:39
France were plunged into an even greater injury crisis when Elvis
Vermeulen, Fabien Galthie and Yannick Bru were all ruled out of Saturday's Lloyds TSB Six Nations clash with Wales over the weekend.
Montferrand back row man Vermeulen was in line to replace South African-born No8 Steven Hall, whilst Galthie was due
to come back in to the side at scrum half and take over as captain from the suspended Olivier Magne.
Vermeulen was carried off with a knee injury in Montferrand's 20-12 victory at Bordeaux-Begles whilst Galthie has not recovered from the injury which kept him out of France's opening victory over Italy and will miss his second game of the campaign.
Toulouse hooker Bru was set to move down to the replacements bench to accommodate the return of Raphael Ibanez, but now he will have to be replaced because of a nagging knee injury.
Already ruled out of the Wales game are the suspended Magne, Toulouse full backs Clement Poitrenaud and Nicolas
Jeanjean, and Montferrand wing David Bory.
French coach Bernard Laporte, who watched the Montferrand game in Bordeaux on Saturday, said: "We will have to make do with what we have got, although it is very disappointing to lose so many players so close to the game."
The injuries mean that Toulouse's versatile teenager Frederic Michalak will play at scrum half, Hall will almost certainly retain his place at No8 and Ibanez is likely to return as both hooker and captain.
Gloucester's Olivier Azam, who made a try scoring return for his club in their win over London Irish on saturday, could be a possible candidate to act as replacmeent hooker.
The French squad will meet near Paris on Monday before flying to Cardiff on
British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton is looking forward to bringing together players from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales for the biggest challenge of their careers - a series against world champions, New Zealand.
For the fifth year running, Wales referee Nigel Owens will be in charge of proceedings at Judgement Day V at Principality Stadium. It promises to be 'extra special' for the Wales' favourite ref, as he will be making his 150th appearance in the league.
There will be no shortage of inside knowledge from Bowl Finalists Caerphilly and Amman United when they face each other on Sunday at National Finals Day. Caerphilly hooker Rhys Cleverly knows the Principality Stadium pitch better than most as a matchday groundsman, while Amman United can look to Wales' record try scorer Shane Williams for some helpful advice.
Two hundred and 40 teams competed in the inaugural Urdd WRU 7s held at Pencoed last week with Welsh internationals Steff Andrews and Jasmine Joyce impressed with the talent on display, as was Urdd chief executive, Sioned Hughes.
The countdown is on for Judgement Day V as tickets for the big day at Principality Stadium soar through the 50,000 mark. Players and coaches alike are bursting at the seams to play in the double header with Dragons coach Kingsley Jones claiming there is a 'real buzz' about the event.
WRU TV went behind the scenes when the four regions got together to test their skill set for the BBC's Scrum V Live rugby show, at the WRU National Centre of Excellene in the build up to Judgement Day V. Blues' Matthew Morgan was one of the stars of the show while the Dragons' Cory Hill proved a surprise package...the full set of results will be revealed on tv screens on matchday
Wales assistant coach Richie Pugh is confident his side can cause a few headaches in the Hong Kong Sevens this weekend. In a tough group, Wales kick off their campaign against New Zealand on Friday before playing Japan and Fiji, who are chasing their third consecutive Hong Kong title, on Saturday.
Bedwas had to overcome a stubborn Carmarthen Quins side before winning the Foster's Challenge Cup final in Bridgend with a 23-18 victory. Bedwas captain Nicky Griffiths pays tribute to his side who have claimed the club's first piece of silverware in the modern era.
Team coach Brett Davey is aiming to keep his unbeaten run in cup finals at Principality Stadium intact when his side take on Amman United in the WRU Bowl final, after he guided Caerphilly to a 20-14 win against Cilfynydd in the semi-finals.
Penallta are hoping to go one step further than last season when falling to Bedlinog in the WRU Plate Final. After a titanic struggle against Nant Conwy, they have given themselves a great chance, after a hard fought 18-13 semi-final victory.
The unique jeopardy of Judgement Day V has been described by stars from Cardiff Blues, Ospreys, Scarlets and Newport Gwent Dragons who will face each other in the annual double-header at Principality Stadium on 15th April.