Caveman Chabal's no hero, says All Blacks' Jack

4th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

4 October 2007, CARDIFF (AFP) - New Zealand second-row Chris Jack added some fuel to the All Blacks' World Cup quarter-final against France by suggesting Sebastien Chabal didn't deserve his folk-hero status.

4 October 2007

CARDIFF (AFP) - New Zealand second-row Chris Jack added some fuel to the All Blacks' World Cup quarter-final against France by suggesting Sebastien Chabal didn't deserve his folk-hero status.

*sidebar1*Both Jack and Chabal, primarily a back-row forward but someone who can play at lock as well, will hope to get the chance to make an impact off the bench during Saturday's last eight clash here at the Millennium Stadium.

Chabal was one of the few French players to enhance his reputation during a 2-0 Test campaign reverse in New Zealand in June which ended with France losing the second match of the series 61-10 in Wellington - their heaviest international defeat.

But during that match he was involved in a collision with Ali Williams which left Jack's fellow lock with a broken jaw.

"It's different for different people," Jack said of Chabal recognisable thanks to his distinctive long hair and beard and known as the 'Caveman'.  

"The French see him as a bit of a hero and someone who stands out. For us, he's just another player on the field. I don't know, maybe he has a tag that's probably higher than his ability."

The 29-year-old Jack, a veteran of more than 60 Tests, is set to bow out from Test rugby at the end of this tournament when he joins English side Saracens - a move that is likely to see him up against Chabal, who plays for Premiership rivals Sale.

He added he'd been taken aback by France coach Bernard Laporte's decision to occasionally deploy Chabal in the second row.

"I am surprised to see him as a lock. He's an awesome No 8, he's tough, he's hard and he plays hard."

New Zealand coach Graham Henry has left Jack amongst the replacements for the quarter-final clash with Williams and Keith Robinson his chosen second row combination.

"I'm obviously disappointed. The coaches have explained it to me. They are happy with the way I'm playing and been impressed with the way I've come off the bench so they are just happy to keep me there."

Earlier Wednesday, Laporte recalled former captain Fabien Pelous to play alongside Jerome Thion in his second row.

With Lionel Beauxis playing at fly-half and Damien Traille starting at full-back it suggested he wanted to play a game which would see them kick deep at the weekend and look to attack New Zealand's perceived weakness at the lineout.

"That's good, that's always encouraging. They are going to have a go," said Jack.

"The quality of their kicking players, they are looking to play a lot of the game down our end of the field and put a lot of pressure on us."

New Zealand, the overwhelming favourites for this World Cup as they were in 1999 when France beat them 43-31 in a thrilling semi-final at Twickenham, have yet to be tested at the tournament - their smallest margin of victory during the Pool phase was a 40-0 defeat of a second-string Scotland.

But Jack said New Zealand's own standards would ensure match sharpness against the French.

"The strength of this team is that we judge ourselves against ourselves. We always have. Our biggest disappointment is when we don't do what we train to do or what we want.

"At times during this World Cup, we have disappointed ourselves. I am sure it might not look like that on the scoreboard.

"We have been testing ourselves. There's still a lot for us to achieve in our game. If you don't keep evolving you get left behind."

AFP

Subject: German news

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