Jeanjean In Race Against Time To Be Fit To Face Wales
3 February 2002 11:00am
The French are facing a full back crisis in the wake of their 33-12 Lloyds TSB Six Nations victory over Italy.
Already without their teenage star Clement Poitrenaud with a shoulder injury, they lost his Toulouse clubmate Nicolas Jeanjean with a badly bruised leg at Stade de France.
Jeanjean limped out of the game after 53 minutes and could be out for two weeks.
That makes it touch and go for him to be fit in time to face Wales in Cardiff on February 16.
A third Toulouse palyer, the 25-year-old Xavier Garbajosa, came on to replace Jeanjean and will be on stand-by to play at the Millennium Stadium.
French coach Bernard Laporte will be looking for an improvement in his side's performance against Wales, who made it two wins in a row in Paris for the first time in 50 years last season.
"It is going to be a big, big game for us against Wales. We will have to retrieve our enthusiasm because it's going to be a huge challenge for us," said Laporte.
"Wales beat us in Paris last year and we have to put the record straight after that. We've got to win.
"The loss of Raphael Ibanez, Patrick Tabacco and Fabien Galthie to our starting line-up affected our cohesion against Italy and took it's toll on us.
"Wales are a very good team and our next match is going to be a major challenge."
French captain Olivier Magne blamed a lack of rhythm for a lacklustre first hour against the Azzurri.
"The Italians caused us a lot of problems by preventing us form getting the ball," said magne.
"You didn't see the true face of this French team because we weren't in the right rhythm.
"But without doubt we will show that against Wales in two weeks time. I've got a lot of hope for this team and we will sort out our problems and be in better shape by the time we face Wales."
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland and captain Sam Warburton say their first prioirty on Sunday in the opening game of the World Cup is to win against Uruguay and not get overly concerned with points difference.
With only days to go until the biggest rugby competition in the world begins, rugby fans visiting Cardiff this autumn will be able to enjoy a special display at National Museum Cardiff as part of the celebrations surrounding the Rugby World Cup.
Geraint John has taken up the new role of WRU elite coach development manager having arrived in Wales last week. WRU TV caught up with him at the WRU rugby department's strategy day at the Millennium Stadium.