Rugby Union: French ring the changes

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The Independent Online
Determined to hammer the complacency out of his French team, Pierre Berbizier yesterday made four changes for the second Test against South Africa at Parc des Princes tomorrow. Far from being complacent, they now seem to have no confidence at all.

The coach has spent the last two days at Chateau Ricard, the 19th- century pile that serves as France's training headquarters 40 miles south of Paris, giving his players a relentless dressing-down for the 'collective amnesia' which he says dragged them down to last Saturday's 20-15 defeat in the first Test in Lyons. 'There was no humility in the side,' Berbizier complained.

Of the backs, out go the wing Sebastien Viars, whose place- kicking would have won the match had it been accurate, and the centre Christophe Deylaud, the golden boy who was severely tarnished by his 80 minutes at Stade Gerland.

In place of Deylaud, Thierry Lacroix, outstanding for France Espoirs when they beat the Springboks in the first tour match, adds pace to the threequarters and improves France's prospects of kicking some points. Jean- Baptiste Lafond, eccentric but greatly talented, comes in at right wing with Philippe Saint-Andre moving from right to left.

The selection of Abdel Benazzi and Philippe Benetton instead of Jean-Marie Cadieu and Jean- Francois Tordo confirms the tactical substitutions made during the Lyons match, Benazzi resuming the acquaintance with Adri Geldenhuys which began strikingly when the Springbok laid him out last Saturday.

Berbizier, doubtless sensing the daggers pointed at his own back as well as those of the players he has dropped, angrily made clear to his squad that last Saturday's performance was unacceptable. 'If everyone had done his job properly we would not be talking about a defeat,' he told them yesterday.

FRANCE (v South Africa, Paris, 24 October): J-L Sadourny (Colomiers); J-B Lafond (Begles), F Mesnel (Racing Club), T Lacroix (Dax), P Saint- Andre (Montferrand); A Penaud (Brive), A Hueber (Toulon); L Armary (Lourdes), J-M Gonzales (Bayonne), P Gallart (Beziers), A Benazzi (Agen), O Roumat (Dax), P Benetton (Agen), L Cabannes (Racing), M Cecillon (Bourgoin, capt). Replacements: S Viars (Brive), C Deylaud (Toulouse), F Galthie (Colomiers), J-F Tordo (Nice), J-M Cadieu (Toulouse), S Graou (Auch).

Trials of life on tour, page 30