Betsen gives France Six Nations boost

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The Independent Online

The coach of France, Bernard Laporte, who names his first squad on 23 January, was given a piece of good news yesterday as Serge Betsen, scourge of the rest of the Six Nations sides, is poised for a comeback after a three-month lay-off.

Betsen has been named in the Biarritz squad that is travelling to Belfast to tackle Ulster in the Heineken Cup at Ravenhill tomorrow.

The 31-year-old flanker suffered a depressed fracture of a cheekbone against Toulouse last October and underwent surgery to repair the damage.

Unfortunately, although the operation was initially successful, problems developed with the eye above the fracture and Betsen found himself unable to move the eye correctly, a condition which persisted for a month.

Wales prop Chris Horsman is to continue playing his club rugby for Worcester after signing an extension to his contract until 2010 in a deal reported to be worth in excess of £500,000.

Horsman, 28, is to have reconstructive surgery today on his left ankle, which is likely to keep him out for the rest of the season.

Llanelli yesterday handed a life ban to Simon Coddington, who confronted Cardiff Blues winger Jonah Lomu during a Celtic League match 10 days ago.

It emerged that Coddington, who had only recently moved to Llanelli from the Nottingham area, is presently serving a six-year ban from attending football matches.

Coddington was banned by Nottingham Forest in 2003 and barred from all football league grounds in the Nottinghamshire police force area until 12 May 2009.

The Blues are urging fans to help them break their own Welsh record attendance of 11,764 at a Heineken Cup match when they play Perpignan in a critical Pool 2 match at the Arms Park on Saturday.

The match also marks the Blues and Wales flanker Martyn Williams' 50th appearance in the tournament, only the 23rd player to reach the landmark and the first Cardiff player to hit the half-century mark.

The Canterbury Crusaders coach Robbie Deans has ruled himself out of contention for the vacant Australia coaching job. The former director of rugby at Bath, John Connolly, is favourite for the position.

With the best part of two months to go, 20,000 tickets have been sold for the Powergen Cup semi-finals double-header at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on 4 March.

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