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Thread: French face injury fears

  1. #1
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    French face injury fears

    Almost starting to feel sorry for the Frogs, as hosts and all...almost

    French face injury fears

    PA Sport
    Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - 11:09 AM (AEST)


    The smile may have returned to French rugby following their mauling of Namibia, but injury concerns are threatening to derail Les Bleus' plans ahead of their pivotal World Cup clash against Ireland on Friday.

    Just when the host nation looked to have got back on its feet following the calamitous opening-night defeat to Argentina, it has been hit by injuries to three of experienced first-choice players.

    Lock Fabien Pelous has been ruled out of the must-win Pool D match against the Irish with a knee injury he sustained after coming off the bench in the 87-10 win over the Namibians yesterday.

    Captain and hooker Raphael Ibanez received a blow to the throat in the match and, having undergone tests this morning, he will be looked at again tomorrow.

    Number eight Imanol Harinordoquy, meanwhile, has dislocated his thumb in his left hand and will not take part in any contact training tomorrow.

    Harinordoquy should be available for selection for Friday, but the inspirational Ibanez remains a doubt. The Les Bleus team will be announced on Wednesday morning.

    The injuries have clouded what was a superb return to form by the French in Toulouse on Sunday.

    Maybe it was playing against 14 men for an hour or maybe it was playing away from the pressure-cooker atmosphere of the Stade de France, but the brio returned to Bernard Laporte's side against the Africans.

    The scars of the defeat to Argentina have been partially healed, but Laporte has little time to dwell on the French renaissance, with the qualification decider against stuttering Ireland looming.

    With the Irish limping to victories over Namibia and then Georgia over the past week, there is no question who will go into Friday's crunch game with the wind in their sails, despite France's new injury concerns.

    "With all respect to Namibia, you mustn't make a comparison - they weren't the Argentina team," said Laporte.

    "But we have seen guys in form and playing with enthusiasm. That is important. Each match is a battle for selection when you have a squad of 30."

    "We must put things into perspective - it is Namibia. But the dynamism and enthusiasm before and during the match made me happy."

    "That will have to make us think before we decide on the team that will play Ireland."

    Six of the 13 tries scored by Les Bleus were touched down by players who feature for Toulouse in the Top 14.

    In all, 10 'Les Toulousains' figured in last night's match, with one of them - Vincent Clerc - probably the star attraction.

    The winger, who shone for France in their RBS 6 Nations Championship defence earlier this year but was harshly dropped for the Argentina loss, made the most of the space afforded to him and grabbed three tries.

    He admitted playing with his club colleagues against the Namibians made the job much easier.

    "It was a delight to play with a lot of Toulouse players in Toulouse," he said.

    "I don't know if there was a 'Toulouse touch' but I have played with (full-back) Clement Poitrenaud and (fellow winger) Cedric Heymans for the last five years. You get more of a feeling playing with your friends."

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    Champion Contributor Seldom's Avatar
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    How can you feel sorry for the Frogs??? If it was the Poms nobody would bat an eye lid! They like everyone else has just got to get over it and playon.

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    Champion eleypinkbit's Avatar
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    Wholehearted round of applause for Seldom, I totally agree!

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    Legend Contributor Flamethrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs
    You get more of a feeling playing with your friends."
    Bloody Kinky Frogs

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    (formerly known as Coach) Your Humble Servant Darren's Avatar
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    "French Face, Injury Fears"

    No need to fear injuring something you no longer have...

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