Rugby Union: Cecillon to captain France against SA

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The Independent Online
PHILIPPE SELLA'S withdrawal from consideration for the first France-South Africa Test in Lyons on Saturday week has spared Pierre Berbizier, the coach, a ticklish choice between Sella and Marc Cecillon for the captaincy, writes Steve Bale.

Cecillon, who successfully led France on the summer tour of Argentina when Sella was left behind, is captain of a squad of 21 who will comprise the team and replacements. Jean-Baptiste Lafond (who has joined Begles from Racing Club) and Franck Mesnel, other long-serving backs who contentiously had to stay at home, have been recalled. The only uncapped selection is the prop Stephane Graou.

Ian Hunter, the England B full- back kept out of rugby this season by a knee injury, will make a timely return for Northampton in tomorrow's big First Division match against the champions Bath at Franklin's Gardens.

Hunter had an operation after hurting the knee training with England a month ago, but is still in the squad to train at Wolverhampton on Sunday before the team to play Canada next Saturday are announced. Another England man, Tim Rodber, will return at flanker for Northampton after recovering from a hamstring injury.

FRANCE SQUAD (v South Africa, Lyons, 17 October): Backs: J-B Lafond (Begles-Bordeaux),

J-L Sadourny (Colomiers), S Viars (Brive), P Saint-Andre (Montferrand), T Lacroix (Dax), C Deylaud (Toulouse), F Mesnel (Racing Club), A Penaud (Brive), F Galthie (Colomiers), A Hueber (Toulon). Forwards: L Armary (Lourdes),

J-M Gonzales (Bayonne), S Graou (Auch), P Gallart (Beziers), C Deslandes (Racing Club de France), O Roumat (Dax), J-M Cadieu (Toulouse), L Cabannes (Racing Club de France),

J-F Tordo (Nice), P Benetton (Agen), M Cecillon (Bourgoin, capt).