Baby retains seat in France team for Italy clash

15th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

MARCOUSSIS, France, March 15 (AFP) - France coach Bernard Laporte has named an unchanged team from the side that beat Ireland 26-19 in Dublin for the Six Nations match against Italy in Rome on Saturday.

MARCOUSSIS, France, March 15 (AFP) - France coach Bernard Laporte has named an unchanged team from the side that beat Ireland 26-19 in Dublin for the Six Nations match against Italy in Rome on Saturday.

The only doubt concerns centre Benoit Baby who was cited for allegedly head-butting Brian O'Driscoll. He appears before the Six Nations Disciplinary Committee on Wednesday and could be suspended.

Baby won the man-of-the-match award for an impressive debut in Dublin which included a try.

France team manager Jo Maso defended the Toulouse back.

"It's a real shame because it was Benoit's first international match and it was a success," he said.

"We saw him do that gesture and it's something you should never see in rugby, but on a sporting level I will defend him, this was a young person's mistake.

"We will plead for leniency, he is only 21. He was surprised by his own action."

"But after the match O'Driscoll made sure he got his shirt."

Toulouse hooker William Servat, forced out of the Lansdowne Road match through injury, returns to the replacements bench.

Laporte said it had been a straightforward decision to keep the same line-up.

"The team that defeated Ireland gave us a lot of satisfaction and there was no reason to change it for Rome," said Laporte.

"It's great to watch the development of the young players such as Julien Laharrague, Julien Bonnaire, Nicolas Mas, Sebastien Bruno and Benoit Baby.

"It's a close-knit group with a lot of get-up and go who have taken their chance at international level."

France still have chance of retaining their Six Nations title after wins over Scotland, England and Ireland.

They need to beat Italy by at least 42 points and hope Ireland defeat Wales by 13 points in Cardiff.

France (15 to 1): Julien Laharrague (Brive); Christophe Dominici (Stade Français), Yannick Jauzion (Stade Toulousain), Benoit Baby (Stade Toulousain), Cedric Heymans (Stade Toulousain); Yann Delaigue (Castres), Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz); Julien Bonnaire (Bourgoin), Yannick Nyanga (Beziers), Serge Betsen (Biarritz); Jerome Thion (Biarritz), Fabien Pelous (Stade Toulousain, capt); Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Sebastien Bruno (Sale/ENG), Sylvain Marconnet (Stade Francais) Replacements: William Servat (Stade Toulousain), Pieter De Villiers (Stade Francais), Pascal Pape (Bourgoin), Gregory Lamboley (Stade Toulousain), Pierre Mignoni (Clermont), Frederic Michalak (Stade Toulousain), David Marty(Perpignan).

© AFP

Subject: French News

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