Rugby World Cup 2011: France make two changes for England clash

Rugby World Cup 2011: England v France

Venue:
Eden Park, Auckland
Date:
Saturday, 8 October
Kick-off:
0830 BST/ 2030 NZ
Coverage:
Live text commentary, scores and reports on BBC website; updates on BBC Radio 5 live; watch live on ITV1.
Nicolas Mas
Tight-head prop Nicolas Mas returns to the France side against England

France have made two changes to their starting line-up for Saturday's quarter-final against England.

Nicolas Mas will replace Luc Ducalcon at tight-head prop, while number eight Imanol Harinordoquy starts ahead of Raphael Lakafia.

There is no place in the match-day 22 for Ducalcon or Lakafia, and centre Fabrice Estebanez is suspended.

Coach Marc Lievremont has resisted making wholesale changes following the surprise 19-14 defeat by Tonga.

After Saturday's loss, the France coach said his players "never got off the bus", referring to the revolt by the country's football team at last year's World Cup in South Africa.

But Lievremont denied there were internal problems within the camp, saying he had a "great deal of belief" in his team despite a lacklustre performance in their final pool game.

Lievremont said: "We did not win the right to be happy. I do not think there are internal problems, just a frustration on my part but also the players.

"And also of shame after the match last Saturday. All this will, hopefully, generate a reaction."

The coach was in confident mood, even though England have beaten France in their last two World Cup encounters.

England were the victors of the 2007 World Cup semi-final between the two nations, while Martin Johnson's men also won the most recent match between the two teams, a 17-9 win in the Six Nations in February.

"We're under a bit of pressure - it's part of the tournament," added Liveremont.

"It's not huge problems, just a bit of stress and a certain amount of unhappiness with the way the pool matches have been played.

"We're putting that behind us and looking forward to the next match."

England have picked Jonny Wilkinson at fly-half and Toby Flood at centre in their starting line-up, while Mark Cueto returns on the left wing.

France: M Medard, V Clerc, A Rougerie, M Mermoz, A Palisson, M Parra, D Yachvili; JB Poux, W Servat, N Mas, P Pape, L Nallet, T Dusautoir (capt), J Bonnaire, I Harinordoquy. Replacements: D Szarzewski, F Barcella, J Pierre, L Picamoles, F Trinh-Duc, D Marty, C Heymans.

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