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France coach Lievremont already showing ruthless streak as Les Tricolores rebuild

France coach Lievremont already showing ruthless streak as Les Tricolores rebuild

Just three matches into his reign, France coach Marc Lievremont is displaying a ruthless streak by continuing his major shake-up of the team in its Six Nations defense.
Lievremont, who replaced Bernard Laporte after the 2007 World Cup, called up five rookies in making eight changes to his squad to play Italy on March 9 from the 24-13 loss to England last week.
Lievremont gave surprise call-ups to prop Fabien Barcella, hooker Guillem Guirado, flanker Ibrahim Diarra, scrumhalf Julien Tomas and center Yann David for the first time.
"You don't necessarily know their names," Lievremont said Wednesday. "But the five who are coming have been followed, watched, and reviewed. We are sticking to the course we set ourselves."
Six players who started against England _ Cedric Heymans, Morgan Parra, Thierry Dusautoir, Lionel Faure, Julien Bonnaire and David Marty _ have been dropped, while David Skrela and William Servat are also omitted.
"We are not taking the tournament lightly. We respect Italy," Lievremont said. "There is always this will to see a certain number of players."
That would appear to mean giving priority to youth, with the position of veteran scrumhalf Pierre Mignoni, who started in several games at the World Cup, under threat from the 22-year-old Tomas.
"We are thinking of (the) 2011 (World Cup), Tomas is part of our plans." Lievremont said. "Mignoni is 31."
Lievremont indicated that there could be more changes for the final match against Wales in Cardiff on March 15.
"We don't have a set list," he said. "We are interested in following all the potential French (players)."
Lievremont also recalled No. 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, center Yannick Jauzion and winger Julien Malzieu, who sat out the last two games due to a thigh muscle tear from the opening win at Scotland.
Scrumhalf Dimitri Yachvili is the only recognized goalkicker, although center Damien Traille could take the kicking duties despite missing two penalties as France lost to England to drop to 2-1.
Against England, Les Tricolores lined up without a goalkicker for the first time since 1980. Lievremont reaffirmed his faith in Traille's ability with the boot.
"For us, Damien Traille is a goalkicker ... (although) maybe not 100 percent," Lievremont said.
The versatile Traille, who played at times at fullback at the World Cup, will act as cover for flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc against Italy.
Lievremont is also keen to test whether the 23-year-old Barcella can take his league form for Auch onto the international stage.
"He is a player we have been following for several weeks, if not several months," Lievremont said. "He often shines with his club Auch and we wanted to see him at the highest level."
No. 8 Louis Picamoles has proved his fitness after injuring his shoulder against England, and Lievremont is keen to see how he combines with Picamloes and Fulgence Ouedraogo in the back row.
"The medical staff of Montpellier reassured us about Louis Picamoles' health. He will be fine," Lievremont said. "We have a back row that complements itself well. We want to see other players while still keeping a balance."
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Squad:
Forwards: Fabien Barcella, Nicolas Mas, Jean-Baptiste Poux, Guillem Guirado, Dimitri Szarzewski, Lionel Nallet, Pascal Pape, Jerome Thion, Ibrahim Diarra, Imanol Harinordoquy, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Louis Picamoles.
Backs: Julien Tomas, Dimitri Yachvili, Francois Trinh-Duc, Yann David, Damien Traille, Yannick Jauzion, Vincent Clerc, Julien Malzieu, Aurelien Rougerie, Anthony Floc.


Updated : 2021-07-28 14:37 GMT+08:00