Audio: The week in French sports
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This week on "Le Sportcast": French striker André-Pierre Gignac gives title holders Marseille a much-needed boost; France's rugby squad head to Twickenham after scraping past Ireland; and the French Open stays put in Paris.
This week in "Le Sportcast," France24.com's Ben Dodman and Emmanuel Versace break down the week’s top stories with backpagefootball.com’s Etienne Michon in Lyon.
Football – Ligue 1
This weekend, striker André-Pierre Gignac finally scored his first double for Marseille in their clash with Sochaux (2-1). Although the defending champions have raised their level of play, they are still five points behind Lille who are sitting comfortably at the top of the table.
Gignac and his squad are in for an even bigger challenge next week, though, when they face European powerhouse Manchester United in a high profile Champions League showdown on their home turf at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille. This will be Marseille's major test this season to see if they are truly ready to run with the top dogs of European football.
Rugby – Six Nations
It wasn’t always pretty, but the French rugby squad managed to squeeze past the Irish on Saturday, with Marc Lièvremont's men pulling a narrow 25-22 victory out of the hat at the homeside's brand-new Aviva Stadium.
The team is off for the next two weeks and they’ll need all the rest they can get before heading up to Twickenham where they will face England. The English are coming off a 59-13 thrashing of Italy and will no doubt be one of the tougher teams on the French calendar this year.
English manager Martin Johnson will undoubtedly be looking at one man in particular to lead the attack against the French - Northampton’s Chris Ashton. The winger has four tries under his belt already this season and is likely to inflict further pain on a French squad that has conceded six tries in only two matches.
Tennis – French Open
The French Tennis Federation has finally decided that the French Open will stay in Paris. Although the stadium at Roland Garros is the smallest of any of the Grand Slam venues and three surrounding suburban cities sought to build much bigger sites, Paris still picked up a large majority of votes.
But the fight isn’t over. Now the Federation faces complaints from environmental groups who will resist any effort to expand the facilities at Roland Garros at the expense of Paris’s limited green spaces.
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