France seek vital bonus-point win over Georgia
28 September 2007, MARSEILLE (AFP) - France face Georgia in their final Pool D match here on Sunday knowing that only a bonus-point win will do to ensure a spot in the World Cup quarter-finals.
28 September 2007
MARSEILLE (AFP) - France face Georgia in their final Pool D match here on Sunday knowing that only a bonus-point win will do to ensure a spot in the World Cup quarter-finals.
The French have yet to completely assure their qualification for the last eight, but are considered near certain winners over the Georgians while group leaders Argentina are favoured to top Ireland in their final match.
Coach Bernard Laporte has made four changes to his pack and five to the backs from the side that revived French hopes with a crucial 25-3 victory over the under-performing Irish in Paris last Friday.
There are call-ups for three veterans - Yannick Jauzion, Pierre Mignoni and Christophe Dominici - who paid the price of the traumatic 12-17 opening match loss to Argentina on September 7.
Flanker Serge Betsen will captain the side in the absence of hooker Raphael Ibanez.
Laporte said that his selection had been driven by the desire to give another outing to the players who had struggled to find their best form against Argentina.
"They needed to play again following a match when they were not performing. It wasn't a punishment. It allows competition for places," he said.
"The Georgians, they will be there. They will be ready."
Team manager Jo Maso was blunt about France's goal: "Our aim is to score four tries (to garner a bonus point).
"If we do that we will definitely qualify. We will wait for the end of the match and if Ireland manage to get the bonus point, so much the better."
Georgia head into the game on a high after seeing off African minnows Namibia 30-0 on Wednesday. In their first two pool games, the Georgians pushed Ireland close before going down 14-10, and also lost to Argentina 33-3.
Coach Malkhaz Cheishvili immediately set his sights on a second victory at the Stade Velodrome here.
"There is absolutely no question of letting go," vowed Cheishvili.
"We have to keep moving forward, keep focused. We have freed ourselves up mentally by winning and now we have to give our all for the next match.
"It was real team work that allowed us to move forward (in the game against Namibia). We want to move forward as a team, everyone together."
France flanker Yannick Nyanga said that his team needed to produce an error-free game against a physical side, many of them hardened by years spent playing in the two professional French leagues, and with nothing to lose.
"We will be approaching this with humility and respect," he said. "We need to go into the game with determination and without making mistakes if we are to qualify.
"They are athletic, it is part of their culture. We know that the players are well prepared and many of them play in our championship.
"We do not have any physical worries, we will be looking out for weaknesses. We have got to stay humble but ambitious because we have got everything it takes to achieve something interesting.
"They are a team which are constantly progressing and we need to approach the game in the right way.
"They are a very strong team physically with a solid pack, we will need to be pretty strong at the front. They have a very good number 10, he is a good kicker of the ball and we will need to be careful."
Subject: French news