Ibanez Back In The Hot Seat For French Trip To Wales
12 February 2002 16:45pm
Raphael Ibanez will lead a French team showing six changes from their opening day win over Italy when they travel to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to meet Wales in round two of the Lloyds TSB Six Nations Championship on Saturday.
Ibanez returns to the hooking duties in place of the injured Yannick Bru and regains the captaincy because of the suspension of Olivier Magne.
The Castres hooker led France to the 1998 Grand Slam and into the 1999 Rugby World Cup final in Cardiff.
Magne's place in the back row goes to the young Pau forward Imanol Harinoroquy, who wins his first cap.
The other change in the pack sees Olivier Brouzet take over from David Auradou, who is dropped after picking up a yellow card in the 33-12 win over A spate of injuries forced French coach Bernard Laporte into changes at scrum half, wing and full back.
With Frederic Michalak joining Fabien Galthie on the sick list, Pierre Mignoni gets a recall at scrum half to make his first international appearance since facing Namibia in the 1999 Rugby World Cup.
Nicolas Brusque takes over from the injured Nicolas Jeanjean at full back, while utility back Xavier Garbajosa moves onto the wing in place of David Bory.
"We want to make our scrum a much more powerful weapon as we are fully aware the Welsh scrum will be much more difficult to cope with than the Italian one," said Laporte.
"The scrum must be our launching pad for attacking moves. I hope Imanol will help us to be more efficient in the line-out too.
"We can expect a tough challenge in Cardiff. Not because the Welsh scare us but because our squad has not settled down yet."
French manager Jo Maso said the whole of France will be looking for an improved performance after an unconvincing show against Italy at Stade de France.
"We need to regain some pace and we are going to Cardiff with the aim of winning and nothing else," said Maso.
"We must find some ambition and we must be more dominant than we were two weeks ago."
FRANCE (v Wales)
Nicolas Brusque (Biarritz); Aurelien Rougerie (Montferrand), Tony Marsh Montferrand), Damien Traille (Pau), Xavier Garbajosa (Toulouse); Gerald Merceron (Montferrand); Pierre Mignoni (Beziers); Jean-Jacques Crenca (Agen), Raphael Ibanez (Castres Olympique, CAPTAIN), Pieter De Villiers (Stade Francais), Thibault Privat (Beziers), Olivier Brouzet (Northampton Saints, Serge Betsen (Biarritz), Imanol Harinordoquy (Pau), Steve Hall (Beziers).
Replacements: Sebastien Bruno (Beziers), Olivier Milloud (Bourgoin), Fabien Pelous (Toulouse), Alexandre Audebert (Montferrand), Alexandre Albouy (Castres Olympique), Francois Gelez (Agen), Jimmy Marlu (Montferrand)
Llandovery are aiming to make it three titles in a row in this year's Foster's National 7s being held at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday 28 August. Drovers assistant coach Simon Davies and Lee Rees assess their sides chances
A pioneering strength and conditioning programme has been delivered to more than 8000 boys and girls at hub schools throughout Wales this season, helping to develop stronger, more flexible athletes for rugby and other sports.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series returns to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on July 22nd when all four Welsh regions go head to head. Scarlets skills coach Dai Flanagan and Blues Elite Performance Pathway Manager Richard Hodges along with current Welsh squad members were at the launch of this season's event
GB7s women left their England base to train in Wales this week. Olympic Games hopeful Rachael Burford gives WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie her thoughts on Welsh teammate Jasmine Joyce - a 'one touch wonder'
The GB7s women's squad is currently training at Wales' Centre of Excellence where assistant coach Richie Pugh tells WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie some 'tough calls' will have to be made when it comes to finalising the 12 spots for Rio's Olympic Games.