France pick Leibenberg and omit Castaignÿde

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The Independent Online

Thomas Castaignede was a surprise omission from France's World Cup squad as the versatile threequarter Brian Liebenberg came in to replace him in the 30-man party.

The 23-year-old Saracens player will be put on standby, but Liebenberg, originally from South Africa, has been preferred by the France coach, Bernard Laporte.

"Brian has a game with his feet, even better than that of Damien Traille. It's good. That means healthy competition for Damien," Laporte said. "Castaignède was thrown out because he can play in the centre and full-back, but not at wing. We wanted a perfect double for Traille and Brian fitted the bill."

The team manager, Jo Maso, said that Liebenberg had been under consideration for some time. "He has increased in importance with Stade Français all season and notably at the end," he said.

"He can replace Damien Traille - he knows the technique of the position and has a kicking game too. He represents the future of the French team."

Liebenberg is one of three foreigners in the squad with South Africa-born prop Pieter de Villiers and New Zealand-born centre Tony Marsh.

David Moffett, the Welsh Rugby Union group chief executive, has praised the contribution of the Newport backer Tony Brown, who has decided to pull out of the professional game in Wales. Brown will not be involved with the newly formed Gwent Dragons, who will compete in the Celtic League, Celtic Cup and Heineken Cup next season.

Moffett said: "I'm sure that everyone connected with Newport would like to thank him for what he has done for their club over the past five years and it is good news for them to hear that he will continue his association with their Premier Division outfit next season."