Rugby: France pick Heymans at full-back for World Cup opener

3rd September 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 3, 2007 (AFP) - Cedric Heymans was named at full-back in the France team for the opening match of the rugby World Cup against Argentina at the Stade de France here on Friday.

PARIS, Sept 3, 2007 (AFP) - Cedric Heymans was named at full-back in the France team for the opening match of the rugby World Cup against Argentina at the Stade de France here on Friday.

Normally a winger, the 32-time-capped Heymans was preferred to Toulouse team-mate Clement Poitrenaud at full-back after turning in a great performance in the warm-up game away against Wales on August 26, which the French won 34-7.

"We elected to name five forwards on the replacements bench. From that moment on, Cedric Heymans was automatically full-back because Clement cannot cover another position. He also had a good match against Wales," said France coach Bernard Laporte.

In the back-row, Remy Martin was preferred to Thierry Dusautoir at flanker, alongside Serge Betsen and Imanol Harinordoquy, starting at No 8 in place of Julien Bonnaire.

Dusautoir and Bonnaire are two of five forwards on the bench, along with half-backs Jean-Baptiste Elissalde and Frederic Michalak.

"We made this choice because the Argentinians like to play a lot up front," said Laporte.

"But we're there to impose our game. Just because we've got five forwards doesn't mean we're going to play a forwards-dominated game."

The French backs have a solid look to them, with Yannick Jauzion pairing up with Damien Traille in midfield, and Aurelien Rougerie and Christophe Dominici on the wings. Pierre Mignoni starts at scrum-half inside David Skrela.  

The front five shows no real surprises, Pieter de Villiers and Olivier Milloud propping up a side captained by Wasps hooker Raphael Ibanez.

Sale No 8 Sebastien Chabal is named among the replacements and will be sure to have a hit out against the Argentinians in a must-win match in the so-called "group of death".

Pool D also features Ireland, with only the top two teams guaranteed to make it through to the knock-out phase.


Team (15-1)

Cedric Heymans (Toulouse); Aurelien Rougerie (Clermont), Damien Traille (Biarritz), Yannick Jauzion (Toulouse), Christophe Dominici (Stade Francais); David Skrela (Stade Francais), Pierre Mignoni (Clermont); Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz), Remy Martin (Stade Francais), Serge Betsen (Biarritz); Jerome Thion (Biarritz), Fabien Pelous (Toulouse), Pieter de Villiers (Stade Francais), Raphael Ibanez (Wasps/ENG, capt), Olivier Milloud (Bourgoin)

Replacements: Dimtri Szarzewski (Stade Francais), Jean-Baptiste Poux (Toulouse), Sebastien Chabal (Sale/ENG), Julien Bonnaire (Bourgoin), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse), Jean-Baptiste Elissalde (Toulouse), Frederic Michalak (Sharks/RSA)

AFP

Subject: French news

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