Ibanez Back In The Hot Seat For French Trip To Wales
12 February 2002 16:45
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)
Wales Head Coach Rob Howley talks to WRU TV's Sebastian Barrett about the 36-man squad he has just named for the forthcoming Under Armour series, which includes two uncapped players, Ospreys duo Sam Davies and Rory Thornton.
Head coach Rowland Phillips is deligthed he can now call BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park home for his Wales Women's side, who launch their international season next month with games against Scotland and UK Armed Forces in the heart of the capital city.
Wales Sevens star Sam Cross has put his home town club of Brynmawr on the map after winning a silver medal at the Rio Olympics with Team GB. His club have now honoured him by naming their players bar after him, as WRU TV discovered at the official launch, recently.
One of the newest members of the Principality Premiership, Bargoed admit it's proving to be a steep learning curve at the highest level, but are determined to become a force to be reckoned with. WRU TV visited the club last weekend when they took on Llanelli.
Table-topping Aberavon travel to north Wales to tackle RGC 1404 as both teams defend unbeaten starts to the season in the Principality Premiership. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie visited the Wizards to see how their preparations were going for the game of the weekend.
The Half a Game initiative is currently sweeping across Wales and proving a major success. The scheme aims to give every young player at least half a game every weekend. WRU TV recently visited a festival in Narberth where clubs have fully embraced the initiative.
Both Bargoed and Swansea were seeking their first win of the Principality Premiership season this afternoon. It proved a fruitful day for the hosts - not only did they win, but Bargoed claimed a try bonus point.
Cardiff managed to keep their unbeaten record at home intact, but only just as Bridgend made them work extremely hard before the Blue and Blacks secured a hard fought Principality Premiership win at the BT Sport Arms Park last night.
Former Wales back row Andy Powell gives a guided tour of The Wern, home of Merthyr RFC, who are determined to prove a lot of people wrong and make their mark in their first season in the Principality Premiership.