Lievremont sorry for critical comments
Published 15/03/2011 | 15:03
France coach Marc Lievremont today admitted his regret at an outburst following Saturday's defeat by Italy in which he suggested several players may not represent Les Bleus again.
Lievremont gave a scathing assessment the day after the 22-21 loss in Rome, saying he was "ashamed" and felt "betrayed" by his players.
He also dropped six players from the squad, including Sebastien Chabal, and stated some had played their last international games.
However, as he unveiled a team with five changes to it for France's RBS 6 Nations finale against Wales in Paris, Lievremont showed a measure of contrition.
Quoted on www.lequipe.fr, Lievremont said: "I regret my comments on the international decline of some. It was clumsy of me."
Nevertheless, Lievremont has performed substantial surgery on his team.
Among the changes, David Marty and Damien Traille forge a new centre partnership instead of Aurelien Rougerie and Yannick Jauzion.
Brive wing Alexis Palisson is preferred to Bayonne's Yoann Huget, Clermont Auvergne prop Thomas Domingo takes over from Sylvain Marconnet and Biarritz number eight Imanol Harinordoquy is recalled.
Jauzion, Huget, Marconnet and Chabal are all casualties of Lievremont's post-Rome cull.
Clermont Auvergne captain Rougerie's absence is due to a disciplinary hearing he faces tomorrow following an incident which happened while playing for his club.
Lievremont added: "I've tried to stay as consistent as possible. The players are asked to bring a little freshness, enthusiasm.
"I might have been tempted to punish more heavily, but we are a collective."
Palisson, a try-scorer against Wales in Cardiff last season, will start on the left wing with Vincent Clerc switching to the right.
Huget, meanwhile, is on the bench, where Lievremont has also named the likes of Clermont back-row forward Alexandre Lapandry, Stade Francais lock Pascal Pape and Brive back Fabrice Estebanez.
France will go into the Wales game striving to avoid a third defeat in this season's Six Nations, something that has not happened to Les Bleus since 2001.
Wales have an outside chance of winning the title, but only if they beat France by around 20 points and Grand Slam-chasing England lose by a similar margin against Ireland in Dublin.