Rugby Union: Tordo leads France against England

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The Independent Online
THE wild incoherence of French selection was displayed yet again at the weekend when Pierre Berbizier, who was nearly out on his ear last month, named a new captain and half a new team for the game against England at Twickenham on 16 January.

The leadership passes from Marc Cecillon, who had next to no idea of communication, to the Nice captain, Jean-Francois Tordo, a hyperactive and excitable flanker who has now been removed to hooker. Another former captain, Philippe Sella, will also be looking over Tordo's shoulder.

Tordo's change of position is not what it seems. In fact he has spent most of his career at hooker, where he captained France against England in the B international at Bristol in 1991. He can be expected to lead his compatriots through gung-ho example rather than any subtle tactical direction.

France were plunged into crisis after losing to Argentina in Nantes. Berbizier, the coach, was sacked and then reinstated, prompting the resignation of the manager, Robert Paparemborde, followed last week by another new-wave committee man, Jean-Pierre Rives.

Berbizier has dispensed with his outside-half, Alain Penaud, and recalled France's record scorer, Didier Camberabero, whose peremptory post-World Cup dispatch was one cause of friction between Berbizier and Paparemborde.

FRANCE SQUAD (v England, Twickenham, 16 January): J-B Lafond (Begles), S Ougier (Toulouse); P Saint-Andre (Montferrand), P Hontas (Biarritz), F Mesnel (Racing Club), 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 Club), E Melville (Toulon), M Cecillon (Bourgoin).