France v New Zealand, Stade Velodrome, November 28
Nonu sits out All Black training
November 24, 2009
New Zealand centre Ma'a Nonu runs with the ball as fly-half Dan Carter looks on during training at Latymer Upper School, London, November 17, 2009
New Zealand are hoping that Ma' Nonu will be fit for Saturday's showdown with France © Getty Images

All Black centre Ma'a Nonu sat out training in Marseille on Tuesday due to a hip injury, but is expected to return to training ahead of their meeting with France at the Stade Velodrome on Saturday.

The 27-year-old Wellington centre is struggling with bruising but is expected to be fit to take on the French, against whom he scored a try over the summer in the All Blacks' series-levelling second Test win at Westpac Stadium.

Coach Graham Henry has an otherwise fully fit squad at his disposal and France coach Marc Lievremont is hopeful that he will need all of his big guns fit and firing. Lievremont wants France to be installed as favourites in the coming days and for his side to round off a two-year building process by racking up their third successive victory.

After seeing off the Springboks and Samoa Lievremont's powerful squad are withing touching distance of a superb treble - answering many critics of the coach's style in the process.

"This would be the first time we have put together three straight wins," said Lievremont. "I hope that in the coming days, we will assume the status of favourites. We have room for improvement in consistency and I hope we reach a new level this weekend.

"The journey of a team's confidence, the implementation of its plans are very long processes. These last two years we have learned to be patient. It seems that there has been progression (in the last 12 months). We must demonstrate that this weekend against New Zealand."


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