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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

There Will Be No Caveman for France@ RWC 2011

When French Coach Marc Lievremont announced France's World Cup squad to play at in New Zealand this coming September and October, there were some notable omissions: Yannick Jauzion (77caps), Clément Poitrenaud (44 caps) and the face of French rugby from the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Sebastien Chabal (62 caps) His pace, strength and athleticism helped France make the Semi-finals. His stare down of the All Black Haka before France's upset win against New Zealand was one of the iconic moments from the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

It really should not come as a shock for anybody who has had a chance to watch Chabal play this spring for France in the Six Nations Tournament. He had a nightmare game against England, and was a starter in France's famous loss to Italy in Rome. In some ways, Chabal is like a great  boxer who has stayed on a bit too long. Chabal can still play at the club level, but in terms of top-flight, international rugby, he just doesn't have it anymore. Credit to Lievremont for doing the right thing in this case.

According the Lievremont, it was still a very tough decsion-in the tape of the press conference, he was very emotional and did his best to keep his "Sang Froid", but in the end, he wanted to add some young legs(Biarritz's Lafakia and Picamoles from Toulouse) to his French side, which should not have any trouble making it out of group play(After New Zealand, the group has Togo, Canada and Japan), but to advance past the quarterfinals, they are going to need to improve in a big way from their form that they showed in the Six Nations. People talk about pressure on New Zealand, but people also forget that France, in spite of all of it's success in the Six Nations and a couple of famous wins against New Zealand in the 1999 and 2007 World Cups and Australia in 1987, France has never won a Rugby World Cup title. One can argue that among the rugby nations, France is probably the best rugby nation to have not lifted the Webb Ellis trophy.

This is a list of the 32 that made Lievremont's list:
Front Row : Fabien Barcella (Biarritz), Thomas Domingo (Clermont), Jean-Baptiste Poux (Toulouse), William Servat (Toulouse), Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Français), Luc Ducalcon (Castres), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Sylvain Marconnet (Biarritz)
Second Row : Pascal Papé (Stade Français), Julien Pierre (Clermont), Romain Millo-Chluski (Toulouse), Lionel Nallet (Racing-Métro 92)
Flankers/8 Man : Julien Bonnaire (Clermont), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse/Cap), Fulgence Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Raphaël Lakafia (Biarritz), Louis Picamoles (Toulouse)
Scrum Half : Morgan Parra (Clermont), Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz)
Fly Half : David Skrela (Toulouse), François Trinh-Duc (Montpellier)
Centers : Fabrice Estebanez (Brive), Maxime Mermoz (Perpignan), David Marty (Perpignan), Aurélien Rougerie (Clermont)
Wings/Fullbacks : Maxime Médard (Toulouse), Alexis Palisson (Brive), Vincent Clerc (Toulouse), Yoann Huget (Bayonne), Cédric Heymans (Toulouse), Damien Traille (Biarritz)

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