France make two changes for England clash
Tuesday 04 October 2011
France head coach Marc Lievremont hopes the internal strife within his Rugby World Cup squad will be the catalyst for a strong performance in Saturday's quarter-final with England in Auckland.
Lievremont and his Les Bleus squad are frustrated by their own performances in the tournament thus far, after completing their Pool A campaign with a 19-14 loss to Tonga.
Nonetheless France qualified for the last eight as runners-up in the group to New Zealand and face perennial rivals England at Eden Park with a semi-final place at stake.
"We did not win the right to be happy," Lievremont said. "I do not think there are internal problems, just a frustration on my part but also the players.
"And also of shame after the match last Saturday.
"All this will, hopefully, generate a reaction. "
England, too, have experienced numerous on and off-field issues during the tournament thus far, but Lievremont declined the opportunity to twist the knife.
He said: "I have enough trouble with my group not to poke fun of them.
"We're under a bit of pressure - it's part of the tournament.
"It's not huge problems, just a bit of stress and a certain amount of unhappiness with the way the pool matches have been played.
"We're putting that behind us and looking forward to the next match.
"I've still got a great deal of belief in my team, a huge amount of belief in their qualities of rugby players. That hasn't changed."
Lievremont has made just two changes for Saturday's match.
Nicolas Mas is set to return from injury in place of Luc Ducalcon at tighthead prop, with number eight Imanol Harinordoquy promoted off the bench in place of Raphael Lakafia.
Ducalcon and Lakafia drop out of the matchday 22, while Fabrice Estebanez is banned from the match for making a dangerous tackle after coming off the bench against Tonga.
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