Lievremont calls upon tried and tested

 

Rugby:France coach Marc Lievremont named an experienced squad to face Argentina in Montpellier next weekend after an experimental side beat Fiji 34-12 on Saturday.

Back are captain Thierry Dusautoir, centre and backline playmaker Yannick Jauzion, tighthead prop Nicolas Mas, second row Lionel Nallet and flanker Julien Bonnaire. Lievremont also recalled regular hooker William Servat who was ruled out of the Fiji game through a groin injury.

"We went for a more experienced team because the Pumas will be far more difficult to play," Lievremont said.

"It's also a more revengeful squad because there are a lot of players who have suffered against the Pumas," he added, referring to France's two defeats against Argentina in the 2007 World Cup and their 41-13 thrashing in Buenos Aires last June.

Hooker Benjamin Noirot, lock Romain Millo-Chluski, flankers Fulgence Ouedraogo and Alexandre Lapandry, centre David Marty, wingers Maxime Medard and Julien Arias and outhalf David Skrela drop out of the squad. The French coach said he had not learned much from the Fiji win because of the dreadful weather conditions but two players took the opportunity he had given them to prove their worth.

Fabrice Estebanez, who was playing his first international on Saturday, pipped Skrela as replacement flyhalf and Jerome Porical pinched Medard's berth in the back three.

"Estebanez is an interesting option at first centre alongside Jauzion and (injured) Maxime Mermoz but he can also cover the flyhalf position," Lievremont said.

Choosing his backrow had been a problem.

"In a way, we are dropping the players who were the best tackler and the best forward overall, Alexandre Lapandry and Fulgence Ouedraogo," he said.

"But everybody knows we are full of contradictions and we felt we needed the power of Imanol Harinordoquy and Sebastien Chabal against Argentina."