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Laporte names five Toulouse backs in squad to face Italy

Laporte names five Toulouse backs in squad to face Italy

France coach Bernard Laporte named five Toulouse backs among his 22-man squad Sunday to face Italy in next weekend's Six Nations opener.
With Fabien Pelous still out injured, Raphael Ibanez will continue as captain when defending champion France opens its campaign on Saturday in Rome.
Centers Florian Fritz and Yannick Jauzion, wingers Cedric Heymans and Vincent Clerc, and fullback Clement Poitrenaud form Toulouse's attacking quintet and all feature in Laporte's squad.
Laporte also called up flyhalf David Skrela, and the Stade Francais player may be handed the kicking duties against Italy.
France has injury doubts over Damien Traille (right thigh) and Julien Bonnaire (right ankle).
"We have everything in hand to replace them in case they have to pull out," France manager Jo Maso said.
French confidence took a big knock in November, when Les Tricolores lost 47-3 and 23-11 to New Zealand and only just scraped past Argentina 27-26.
Maso says the team cannot afford a sluggish performance against Italy.
"The objective is to make the best start possible in the competition because if we lose in Italy the tournament is practically lost," Maso said. "This match and next week's in Ireland will give us an indication as to our chances of conserving our title."
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France squad:
Forwards: Pieter De Villiers (Stade Francais), Sylvain Marconnet (Stade francais), Olivier Milloud (Bourgoin), Rapahel Ibanez (London Wasps, captain), Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Francais), Lionel Nallet (Castres), Pascal Pape (Castres), Jerome Thion (Biarritz), Serge Betsen (Biarritz), Julien Bonnaire (Bourgoin), Sebastien Chabal (Sale), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz)
Backs: Pierre Mignoni (Clermont), Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz), Damien Traille (Biarrtiz), David Skrela (Stade Francais), Florian Fritz (Toulouse), Yannick Jauzion (Toulouse), Christophe Dominici (Stade Francais), Cedric Heymans (Toulouse), Vincent Clerc (Toulouse), Clement Poitrenaud (Toulouse)
(parf-jp)


Updated : 2021-02-28 11:23 GMT+08:00