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France coach names surprise team for 'le Crunch'

Latest update : 2008-02-20

France coach Marc Lievremont bets on youth's boldness and gives a chance to Morgan Parra, 19, and François Trinh-Duc, 21, against England on Saturday.

MARCOUSSIS, France, Feb 19 (Reuters) - France will field a
halfback and number 8 combination boasting of total of just five
caps against England when they look to avenge their World Cup
semi-final defeat on Saturday.

Coach Marc Lievremont named scrumhalf Morgan Parra and
flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc, who are 19 and 21 respectively and
have two caps each, in his starting line-up on Tuesday for the
Six Nations clash at the Stade de France.

Lievremont also handed a start to 22-year-old number 8 Louis
Picamoles and 24-year-old lock Romain Millo-Chluski.

Picamoles made his first appearance as a playing replacement
against Ireland on Feb. 9. Millo-Chluski won his only cap in a
30-30 draw with South Africa in June 2005.

"We stayed true to our belief regarding the players and the
style of play. We hope these young players will bring enthusiasm
and cheek to the team," Lievremont told reporters.

"Some people will make a fuss but we assume (responsibility
for) our choices. We are not taking a gamble, we are not selling
off Saturday's match because, revenge or no revenge, a game
against England is always a special occasion."



Lievremont gave the nod to Parra at the expense of Dimitri
Yachvili who was recalled to the squad on Monday after
Jean-Baptiste Elissalde withdrew because of a pulled muscle in
his right calf.

"Morgan has been with us for three weeks. He was convincing
when he came on against Ireland and in training. He knows our
calls on the set pieces and we wouldn't have done Dimitri a
favour if we had asked him to start the game," he said.

Lievremont admitted that with Elissalde ruled out and
Yachvili and flyhalf David Skrela on the bench, France would
start Saturday's match without a specialist goalkicker.

"Damien Traille will assume kicking duties. We trust him. He
is in form as his 50-metre penalty against Ireland showed," he
said. Holders France, who lead the standings with four points
from two games, beat Ireland 26-21.

Picamoles's selection means that Julien Bonnaire moves to
flanker with Thierry Dusautoir while Fulgence Ouedraogo, a
starter against Scotland and Ireland, is relegated to the bench.

"Picamoles can be our answer to England's physical power,"
Lievremont said.

"England's forwards are very experienced and very powerful
with a hard-hitting back row. In the backline, they have a blend
of speed and power. They don't always click collectively but
when they do they are a very good team."

France: 15-Cedric Heymans, 14-Aurelien Rougerie, 13-David
Marty, 12-Damien Traille, 11-Vincent Clerc, 10-Francois
Trinh-Duc, 9-Morgan Parra, 8-Louis Picamoles, 7-Thierry
Dusautoir, 6-Julien Bonnaire, 5-Romain Millo-Chluski, 4-Lionel
Nallet (captain), 3-Nicolas Mas, 2-Dimitri Szarzewski, 1-Lionel

Replacements: 16-William Servat, 17-Jean-Baptiste Poux,
18-Pascal Pape, 19-Fulgence Ouedraogo,  20-Dimitri Yachvili,
21-David Skrela, 22-Anthony Floch.
 (Editing by Rex Gowar)

Date created : 2008-02-19