News in Brief
Triple injury blow for France
May 25, 2009
France head coach Marc Lievremont faces the media, France press conference, London, England, March 16, 2009
France coach Marc Lievremont has been forced into some late changes to his squad ahead of their tour of Australia and New Zealand © Getty Images

  • France have been hit by a triple injury blow ahead of their forthcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand.

    Bourgoin scrum-half Morgan Parra suffered a shoulder injury in his side's European Challenge Cup Final defeat at the hands of Northampton on Friday night and has since been replaced by Biarritz No.9 Dimitri Yachvili.

    In a further blow to coach Marc Lievremont's plans, captain Lionel Nallet and backrow Imanol Harinordoquy were ruled out of the tour on Monday with bruised ribs and a shoulder injury respectively. Bayonne's Remy Martin and Perpignan's Damien Chouly have subsequently been handed call-ups.

    The French play two Tests against the All Blacks in Dunedin on June 13 and Wellington on June 20 and one Test against the Wallabies in Sydney on June 27.

    Revised France squad:-

    Forwards: Fabien Barcella (Biarritz), Thomas Domingo (Clermont), Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Français), Guilhem Guirado (Perpignan), William Servat (Stade Toulousain), Sylvain Marconnet (Stade Français), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Damien Chouly (Perpignan), Sebastien Chabal (Sale/ENG), Romain Millo-Chluski (Stade Toulousain), Pascal Pape (Stade Français), Louis Picamoles (Montpellier), Remy Martin (Bayonne), Julien Bonnaire (Clermont), Fulgence Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse)

    Backs: Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz), Julien Dupuy (Leicester/ENG), David Skrela (Toulouse), François Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Maxime Mermoz (Perpignan), Yannick Jauzion (Toulouse), Florian Fritz (Toulouse), Mathieu Bastareaud (Stade Français), Alexis Palisson (Brive), Damien Traille (Biarritz), Aurelien Rougerie (Clermont), Cedric Heymans (Toulouse), Vincent Clerc (Toulouse), Maxime Medard (Toulouse)

  • David Strettle hopes he has exhausted his quota of bad luck as he attempts to relaunch his England career.

    Having overcome a hat-trick of metatarsal injuries - all to his left foot - Strettle missed Harlequins' march to the Guinness Premiership play-offs with an ankle problem. Back in the treatment room yet again, it was the latest blow to a player who has been restricted to six caps since making an impressive debut against Ireland in 2007.

    "It's been a season of vast frustration, like last season. Sometimes I do feel cursed," said the 25-year-old. "The second time I injured the metatarsal I was upset, the third time it was more disbelief. If it hadn't been for (Harlequins director of rugby) Dean Richards, who spoke to me about when he missed a season with a shoulder injury, it would have been harder. All players go through these spells.

    "Every player expects to get injured but the biggest shame for me is that when I've missed things it's been big - a World Cup, Six Nations, autumn internationals and Quins doing the double over Stade Francais. I hope I've had more than my share now. You just have to get on with it.

    England name their team to face the Barbarians on Wednesday and Strettle hopes to be involved after returning to training last week.

    "I had my first training session last Wednesday after four weeks of being kept off my feet," he said. "It was 90 minutes of full contact and that's what I needed - it felt like a slap in the face."

  • Former Wallabies scrum-half Chris Whitaker is the latest player to be unveiled by the Barbarians for their clashes with England and Australia.

    Fresh from helping Leinster to Heineken Cup glory, the former Waratahs No.9 will face England this Saturday before making an emotional return to the Sydney Football Stadium for the clash with Australia on June 6.

    Whitaker, who earned the last of his 31 caps against Wales in 2005, appeared in the 1999 and 2003 Rugby World Cup tournaments, and skippered Australia in a Rugby World Cup pool match against Namibia in Adelaide six years ago.

    He joins current Leinster team mate and former Waratahs colleague Rocky Elsom in the Barbarians' ranks for the game.

  • Wales scrum-half Gareth Cooper wants to ensure he hits the ground running with new employers Cardiff Blues next season by excelling on tour in Canada and the USA.

    "When I found out the Blues were interested in me, there was no question in my mind that I wanted to make the switch, said Cooper. "There was no debate about it and I'm really looking forward to it now. It was always part of my plan to come back to Wales and the Blues are the epitome of what a player wants in a rugby club.

    "I was the incumbent in the Wales side before I got injured this year and it was a great feeling to be back and now I want to take my chance again. I've got an opportunity to hit the ground running when I pick up at the Blues and that's my aim now on this tour."

  • In-form winger Sitiveni Sivivatu is likely to miss much of the international season after dislocating a shoulder in the Chiefs' Super 14 semi-final win over the Hurricanes on Friday.

    Sivivatu, 27, already ruled out of this weekend's Super 14 final against the Bulls at Pretoria, is to see a specialist this week, the New Zealand Herald said. This is the second time this season that Sivivatu has injured the shoulder and if surgery is prescribed, will be out for about six months.

    Crusaders scrum-half Andy Ellis could also be out of the reckoning for All Blacks' selection this season. Ellis played the last six weeks with three fractured ribs and will now need up to 10 weeks for them to heal.

  • Celtic Rugby added their congratulations to Irish Province Leinster, as the Magners League side proved they are the best team in Europe by beating English Premiership Champions, Leicester Tigers, to claim the 2009 Heineken Cup.

    Director of Celtic Rugby David Jordan said, "Congratulations must go to everyone involved at Leinster in the success of winning the Heineken Cup. The team have built on their performances in claiming the Magners League title of 2008 by becoming European Champions the following year, a unique achievement in Celtic Rugby history.

    "Once again all the major European cross border trophies reside in Celtic hands; Ireland taking the RBS Six Nations Trophy, Cardiff Blues the EDF Energy Cup and Leinster the Heineken Cup. With the majority of the British and Irish Lions touring party playing their rugby for Magners League teams, it is proving to be another ground breaking season for Celtic Rugby.

    "A final mention must go to the Leinster supporters who made the game at Murrayfield such a colourful and vibrant occasion on Saturday."

  • San Francisco Golden Gate booked a place in the 2009 Rugby Super League Final with a heart-stopping 19-16 win over Denver. Prop Jason Bowden barged his way over after continual pressure to send the home team into raptures and break the hearts of a plucky Denver unit.

    "It was a classic game that probably didn't deserve a loser," San Francisco coach Paul Keeler said. "Denver played exceptional and defended great to keep us to just three tries. But as a club we are so excited to have won and have a chance at the title. We have worked hard all season for this and now we just have to prepare well for the big day."

    Elsewhere, Life University capped a remarkable return to top flight rugby with a 25-3 semi-final victory over Belmont Shore. After being a late inclusion in the competition following the withdrawel of St Louis, Life University have beaten allcomers and now enter the final undefeated. The Running Eagles turned a 13-3 halftime lead into a 25-3 clinical victory and will take plenty of confidence into next weekend.

  • The Ospreys have confirmed that they have signed former Ireland Under-20 lock Conor McInerney from Leinster.


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