French name team to face Wallabies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

French name team to face Wallabies

By Darren Walton 23/06/2008 08:15:11 PM Comments (0)

French coach Marc Lievremont has named just one survivor from last year's Rugby World Cup semi-final in his side to tackle Australia in the first of two Tests in Sydney on Saturday night.

But Lievremont warned the Wallabies against taking his understrength team lightly just because the bulk of the country's established Test stars were at home in France for the completion of their domestic championship.

Lievremont was bemused when asked if he thought his depleted line-up was confident of beating the full-strength Wallabies.

"What a question. Yes, I think we are going to play well on Saturday and win," he said.

"In my opinion, we have a very good balance with just two players starting (a Test) for the first time. We tried to get some experienced players to start this game."

Centre Damien Traille is the only inclusion from the starting team that lost to England at the penultimate stage of the World Cup last October.

But only winger Alexis Palissson and prop Benoit Lecouls will be making their Test debuts in a line-up featuring superstar forward Sebastien Chabal - the face of the World Cup - and to be captained by Castres Olympique lock Lionel Nallet.

Asked by a French journalist who'd clearly been given a bum steer about the Wallabies disrespecting the visitors, Lievremont said that was Australia's concern.

"It's not my business that the Wallabies have no esteem for us," he said.

"That's true that we start without the best players, but it's their business.

"Well done for them if they don't have any esteem for us. We have esteem for them, for sure."

Lievremont believed the Wallabies would be much improved from their first outing under new coach Robbie Deans, a rusty performance which yielded a hard-fought 18-12 win over Ireland in Melbourne nine days ago.

"They're certainly better than what we saw against Ireland," he said.

"This Australian side has very big potential and with the quality of coaching from Robbie Deans, I am sure we are going to have a very explosive cocktail on Saturday."

France: Pepito Elhorga, Alexis Palissson, Francois Trinh-Duc, Damien Traille, Benjamin Thiery, Benjamin Boyet, Dimitri Yachvili, Louis Picamoles, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Imanol Harinordoquy, Lionel Nallet, Sebastien Chabal, Benoit Lecouls, Sebastien Bruno, Lionel Faure. Reserves: Benjamin Kayser, Renaud Boyoud, David Couzinet, Matthieu Lievremont, Sebastien Tillous-Bordes, Thubault Lacroix, David Janin.

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