Monday 18 December 2017

Lievremont bullish on new-look midfield

Jean-Paul Couret

France will rely on their biggest midfield ever, when they attempt to maul the Pumas in Montpellier today.

Never before in the country of flair and elusive runners, have players as powerfully built as Damien Traille, inside-centre Yannick Jauzion and outside-centre Aurelien Rougerie combined at the core of the national team.

Traille is 1.94 metres tall and weighs 98 kg, Jauzion is 1.93 metres and weighs 95 kg and Rougerie is 1.94 metres and 93 kg.

"They have power, but they also have speed, hands and experience," the France assistant coach in charge of the backs, Emile Ntamack said. "It's a very interesting combination."

Traille has 75 caps, Jauzion 68 and Rougerie 57, and while all three are in their thirties the combination has only now become possible -- with Traille switching from inside-centre to fly-half at the start of the year, while Rougerie has completed his move from the wing to outside-centre. Both players did so at the request of their clubs.

France coach Marc Lievremont said he had no worries about the success of the two conversions.

"Aurelien's decision was a very intelligent one because he is now a more mature player and he had lost some speed over long runs," he said. "Traille's switch was more obvious because he has everything to make a good fly-half. He has good tactical sense and power to attack the line, he is a good tackler and a good kicker from the hands."

France -- A Palisson; Y Huget, A Rougerie, Y Jauzion, M Andreu; D Traille, M Parra; T Domingo, W Servat, N Mas; J Pierre, L Nallet; T Dusautoir (capt), J Bonnaire, S Chabal. Reps: G Guirado, L Ducalcon, J Thion, I Harinordoquy, D Yachvili, F Estebanez, J Porical

Argentina -- M Rodriguez; G Camacho, G Tiesi, S Fernandez, L Gonzalez Amorosino, F Contepomi (capt), N Vergallo; R Roncero, M Ledesma, M Scelzo, M Galarza, P Albacete, G Fessia, M De Achaval, JM Fernandez Lobbe. Reps: A Creevy, M Ayerza, S Guzmán, J Farías Cabello, Á Galindo, A Lalanne, M Bosch.

France v Argentina,

Live, ESPN, 7.45

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