More Injury Worries For France Ahead Of Their Welsh Assignment
9 February 2002 20:39pm
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
Wales Under 20 travel to Newcastle on Friday to face England at Kingston Park. With the likes of Jack Dixon and Ashley Evans returning to the squad, it's arguably the strongest side head coach Byron Hayward has put out in the tournament so far. WRU TV previews the game with Defence Coach Richard Hodges and captain Steffan Hughes.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland gives an exclusive interview to WRU TV after naming his side to face England in the RBS 6 Nations at Twickenham on Sunday. Gatland has recalled British & Irish Lions duo Jonathan Davies and Alun Wyn Jones to his side while Rhys Webb retains his place at scrum half.
Scrum half Rhys Webb and lock Jake Ball both made their first Wales starts in last Friday's win over France at the Millennium Stadium. They talk exclusively to WRU TV's Luke Broadley about their experiences of the day.
Wales Women's Head Coach Rhys Edwards has made three changes to his side to face France at Aberavon on Sunday, where he expects his side to be given a tough time against one of the best teams in the world.