Wales v France, Rugby World Cup, October 15, 2011
Yachvili faces semi-final fitness race
October 13, 2011
Yachvili has edged ahead of Parra in the scrum-half department © Getty Images
French scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili is an injury concern ahead of their World Cup semi-final with Wales on Saturday.
The scrum half was stricken with a dead leg in the quarter-final against England last weekend but kept on kicking in the match, causing bleeding around the injured area. He was named in the starting XV for the clash earlier this week, and on Thursday French kicking coach Gonzalo Quesada told a press conference that Yachvili may not be fit to face the Welsh.
"We will see,'' said Quesada."He has been recovering properly and his best training this week has been to recover, to look after his leg. We will wait until then last minute before we decide whether he will be kicking or not."
Quesada left no doubt that Yachvili did not help his injury by continuing to kick in the quarter-final against England. He said: "He kicked after being injured and that aggravated his injury and that is why he has been relaxing."
The loss of Yachvili would be a blow for the French. He has scored six out of nine conversions in the tournament, along with nailing nine out of 10 penalties taking his overall success rate to 71%.
Coincidentally, the French raised the possibility of losing their top kicker only a few hours before Wales announced that their top kicker, Rhys Priestland, would miss the match with an injured shoulder. The French could turn to scrum-half turned fly-half Morgan Parra, who handled the job in the pool match against Canada.
Despite the injury to Yachvili, the France can still claim more players with big match experience than the Welsh, though they downplayed any notion of favouritism.
"No,'' said No.8 Imanol Harinordoquy. "It is always a danger when you are the favourite. We prefer to be the outsider.'' Harinordoquy then reflected on what happened the last time France was in an RWC semi-final.
"In 2007 we relaxed too much and we thought we had won the game before we played it against a team that was not as experienced as we were. We have to be of better mind on Saturday." England beat France 14-9 in that match.
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