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Page last updated at 10:30 GMT, Tuesday, 17 February 2009

France prop Mas out of Wales game

Nicolas Mas
Nicolas Mas has failed to recover from a thigh injury

Perpignan prop Nicolas Mas has been ruled out of France's 27 February clash with Wales in Paris.

He lasted just 40 minutes of the 22-13 win over Scotland on Saturday before withdrawing with a thigh problem, expected to keep him out for two weeks.

Props Lionel Faure and Benoit Lecouls also have injuries, so Stade Francais' Sylvain Marconnet could return in a 23-man squad to be named on Wednesday.

Faure missed the game against Scotland but should be fit for the Wales clash.


Perpignan centre Maxime Mermoz sustained an injury against Scotland, but his thigh strain is not serious and he should be back for his club's Top 14 match against Bayonne this weekend.

"There'll be continuity in selection," said France coach Marc Lievremont.

The French squad have returned to their clubs for this week and will reunite at Marcoussis on Sunday, for four days of work ahead of the Wales match.

"I don't see how, in this context, we could change a dozen players with just four days of training," said Lievremont.

"We also have confidence in them. But I would have really liked to have kept the players this week."

Experienced Stade Francais front-row forward Marconnet has not played for France since the 2007 Six Nations.

France coach Marc Lievremont
Lievremont is unhappy at having to release his players this week

"We will see [on Wednesday]," said Marconnet, who has played 71 times for his country.

"I don't want to get myself too excited before it happens. If I am called up, it will be a great joy.

"But there will need to be a lot of work put in. It will be a big, big challenge for me."

Marconnet's last appearance for Les Bleus was a 32-21 win over Wales at the Stade de France just under two years ago.

Days after that game, he broke his leg while skiing with his family and he was not only ruled out of the rest of that Six Nations but also the World Cup later that year.

Only in the last few months has he really got his form back for the Parisian aristocrats.

"I feel good," he added. "I have strung some matches together with Stade Francais, and my sensations and pleasure have returned.

"I have finally shrugged off all the pain. The train has left and I don't know if I am going to be able to get in it. But if I am called on, I will get myself over to Marcoussis very quickly."

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