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Page last updated at 21:31 GMT, Sunday, 13 March 2011

France make six changes for Six Nations game with Wales

Marc Lievremont
Lievremont took over from Bernard Laporte in 2007

France coach Marc Lievremont has made six big-name changes to his Six Nations squad to face Wales on Saturday.

Sebastien Chabal, Yannick Jauzion, Sylvain Marconnet, Clement Poitrenaud and Jerome Thion have been dropped.

Centre Aurelien Rougerie is also axed because of an imminent French League disciplinary committee appearance.

The changes come in the wake of France's shock 22-21 Six Nations loss to Italy, after which Lievremont launched a scathing attack on his team.

Italy came from behind to secure only their second win in 32 games against France and their first on home soil.

Afterwards, Lievremont claimed his players "lacked courage" and said some of them would not play for the national side again.

"There is a certain form of cowardice - when I speak with them, nothing happens, as usual," he said.

"I feel like I'm responsible for this but the players are lacking courage. Some of the players maybe wore the France jersey for the last time."

Coming into the team for the upcoming Six Nations clash at the Stade de France are flanker Alexandre Lapandry, prop Jerome Schuster, full-back Alexis Palisson, utility back Fabrice Estebanez, centre David Marty and lock Pascal Pape.

Former France flanker Lievremont, 42, took over as head coach of his country in 2007, replacing Bernard Laporte, after a spell in charge of Dax.

He led France to the Grand Slam title in March 2010 but also saw his side suffer a 59-16 defeat by Australia in November.

This match was an hallucination. I do not want to clear myself from the blame but they invented things on the pitch

France coach Marc Lievremont

Despite that humiliating loss on home soil, Lievremont was hoping his players could successfully defend their Six Nations title ahead of the upcoming World Cup in New Zealand later this year.

But France have come up short in the tournament, losing to England in February and now suffering defeat by underdogs Italy despite having led 18-6 in the second half.

The setback in Rome has now ended any slim hopes of a title defence and Lievremont's critics have questioned his leadership skills.

Lievremont has used a total of 81 players since taking charge and has been criticised for frequently changing his starting line-up.

The coach apparently spent 15 minutes with his players after the defeat by Italy and while he said he had to bear some responsibility for the loss, he was not prepared to shoulder the entire burden.

"This match was an hallucination. I do not want to clear myself from the blame but they invented things on the pitch," he said.

Lievremont said captain Thierry Dusautoir, whom he singled out for praise along with wing Vincent Clerc, felt betrayed by some of his team-mates.

Lievremont added: "Do you really think that I told them to play as they did against Italy? I was ashamed.

"I do not have the impression we asked them to walk on the moon. I do not ask for complicated things."


Forwards: Thomas Domingo, Jerome Schuster, Guilhem Guirado, William Servat, Luc Ducalcon, Nicolas Mas, Lionel Nallet, Pascal Pape, Julien Pierre, Julien Bonnaire, Thierry Dusautoir, Alexandre Lapandry, Imanol Harinordoquy.

Backs: Morgan Parra, Julien Tomas, Francois Trinh-Duc, Fabrice Estebanez, David Marty, Damien Traille, Vincent Clerc, Yoann Huget, Maxime Medard, Alexis Palisson.

Mirco Bergamasco

Extended highlights - Italy 22-21 France

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see also
Italy 22-21 France
12 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
Mallett proud of 'huge' Italy win
12 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
Italy v France stats
12 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
England 17-9 France
26 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Lievremont hits out at 'English'
21 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 22-25 France
13 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
France 34-21 Scotland
05 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Lievremont praises brave French
20 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union
Lievremont appointed France coach
24 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union

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