Rugby Union: Hooker Tordo to lead French

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The Independent Online
FRANCE have upheld their long traditions of eccentric selection by naming Jean-Francois Tordo, who has played all his international rugby at flanker, as captain and hooker for the opening Five Nations' Championship match against England at Twickenham on 16 January, writes Huw Richards.

Tordo, whose change of position is a reflection of France's wealth of back-row talent, retains the captaincy in spite of leading France in their 24-20 home defeat by Argentina at Nantes last month. That result prompted the sacking and subsequent reinstatement of coach Pierre Berbizier, followed by the departure of team manager Robert Paparemborde. But there are seven changes from the squad that defeated South Africa in Paris three weeks earlier.

Among the victims is Alain Penaud, who is displaced by as outside-half by the veteran Didier Camberabero. Capped 33 times, Camberabero last played for France in the World Cup match against Canada in October 1991. His recall gives him the chance to extend his French career scoring record of 332 points, including 30 against Zimbabwe at Auckland in the 1987 World Cup. Also recalled is the South African-born Eric Melville at No 8. Stephane Ougier of Toulouse is a newcomer to the championship at full-back, while another Toulouse player, Jerome Cazalbou, gets his first call-up as reserve scrum-half.

SQUAD: J-B Lafond (Begles), S Ougier (Toulouse), P Saint-Andre (Montferrand), P Hontas (Biarritz), F Mesnel (Racing), P Sella (Agen), D Camberabero (Beziers), T Lacroix (Dax), A Hueber (Toulon), J Cazalbou (Toulouse), L Armary (Lourdes), J-F Tordo (Nice, capt), S Graou (Auch), L Seigne (Merignac), F Landreau (Grenoble), A Benazzi (Agen), O Roumat (Dax), P Benetton (Agen), L Cabannes (Racing), E Melville (Toulon), M Cecillon (Bourgoin).

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