Rugby World Cup 2011: Damien Traille surprised by France bench role

Damien Traille
Traille made his Test debut against South Africa in November 2001

France back Damien Traille thought he had been mistakenly named among the replacements for Sunday's World Cup final against New Zealand after missing the team's previous three matches.

The 32-year-old had been dropped after being replaced at half-time of the 37-17 Pool A defeat by the All Blacks.

"It was a big surprise to me. I even thought it was an error when they read my name out," said Traille.

Traille replaces Toulouse winger Cedric Heymans on the bench.

Apart from Traille's recall, coach Marc Lievremont has kept faith with the same replacements named for the 9-8 semi-final win over Wales, with fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc and utility half-back Jean-Marc Doussain providing cover for Dimitri Yachvili and Morgan Parra.

There had appeared little chance of Traille winning a place back in the match-day squad after he criticised Lievremont's decision to take him off at the interval in France's first meeting with New Zealand in the tournament, but his versatility and experience has secured the surprise recall.

Traille, who has won 85 caps, started France's 2007 quarter-final upset of New Zealand at full-back.

"Damien is a big game player. He had an outstanding game that day in 2007," said defence coach David Ellis.

"We've got a few left-footers in the team. Damien is a right-footer, so he gives the extra option, but we could also use him at number 10, at centre or at full-back, so there's various different options."

Traille said that he had repaired his relationship with Lievremont, who has on several occasions in their run to the final.

"There was a lot of debate about what I had said, that I didn't get any explanation from Marc. I got one afterwards, so things were clear between us," Traille said.

"Of course I want to come on. It's difficult being a reserve - you never know when you're going to come on. Nothing replaces games. You can be as fit as you want, but that doesn't make up for it."

France: Maxime Médard, Vincent Clerc, Aurélien Rougerie Maxime Mermoz, Alexis Palisson, Morgan Parra, Dimitri Yachvili; Jean-Baptiste Poux, William Servat, Nicolas Mas, Pascal Papé, Lionel Nallet, Thierry Dusautoir (c), Julien Bonnaire, Imanol Harinordoquy.

Replacements: Dimitri Szarzewski, Fabien Barcella, Julien Pierre, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Jean-Marc Doussain, François Trinh-Duc, Damien Traille

For the latest updates and reaction to this story read Sportsday Live. Have your say on Twitter via the hashtag #bbcsportsday

Top Stories