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Page last updated at 13:14 GMT, Tuesday, 15 March 2011

France coach Marc Lievremont shrugs off talk of sack

Six Nations: FRANCE v WALES
Venue: Stade de France, Paris Date: Sat, 19 March Kick-off: 1945 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC One HD and online from 1930-2200; Listen on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Radio 5 Live; Text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles

Marc Lievremont
Lievremont apologised to his players

France coach Marc Lievremont says he does not fear the sack if his team are beaten by Wales in Paris on Saturday.

The pressure on Lievremont increased after last weekend's shock Six Nations loss to Italy which led him to make scathing criticism of the players.

But asked on Tuesday if defeat by Wales would signal the end of his reign, he said: "I don't think so.

"I don't see myself as being in a battle to defend my name, or worrying about Saturday's result."

He added: "Even in the worst moments I didn't think about my future. I'm not interested in keeping my job for fame or financial reasons. I'm just trying to improve and go forward."

Lievremont also apologised to his players after saying his team were blighted by "a certain form of cowardice" during Italy's historic 22-21 triumph in Rome.

After naming his XV for Saturday evening's match, he said: "I'm sorry for the comments.

"There was a feeling of injustice after I dropped five or six players and made them scapegoats while the defeat was a collective one."

Lievremont's criticism of his team was strong enough to prompt suggestions that he had completely lost confidence in last year's Grand Slam winners with this autumn's Rugby World Cup on the horizon.

But he said on Tuesday: "I regret some of the things I said on Sunday, when I said that some players had probably played their last match for France.

"It was clumsy of me, although I still maintain that changes have to be made.

"I'm trying to stay logical. The players I called up will bring some freshness and enthusiasm.

"We have a very short time to bounce back and make sure we beat Wales. We need to work on the collective side of our game and I need to motivate the players by giving them confidence."

For the Wales match, Lievremont has brought in Damien Traille and David Marty at centre, Alexis Palisson on the left wing, Imanol Harinordoquy at number eight and Thomas Domingo in the front row.

Harinordoquy replaces Sebastien Chabal and Domingo comes in for Sylvain Marconnet.

Traille and Marty are direct replacements for Yannick Jauzion and Aurelien Rougerie, while Palisson replaces Yoann Huget, who goes to the replacements bench.

France team v Wales

M Medard (Toulouse); V Clerc (Toulouse), D Marty (Perpignan), D Traille (Biarritz), A Palisson (Brive); F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), M Parra (Clermont); T Domingo (Clermont), W Servat (Toulouse), N Mas (Perpignan), J Pierre (Clermont), L Nallet (Racing-Metro), T Dusautoir (Toulouse, capt), J Bonnaire (Clermont), I Harinordoquy (Biarritz).

Replacements: G Guirado (Perpignan), L Ducalcon (Castres), P Pape (Stade Francais), A Lapandry (Clermont), J Tomas, (Montpellier), F Estebanez (Brive), Y Huget (Bayonne)

Mirco Bergamasco

Extended highlights - Italy 22-21 France

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see also
Prop Jones returns to Wales squad
14 Mar 11 |  Welsh
Six big-name changes for France
13 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
Mallett proud of 'huge' Italy win
12 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
Italy 22-21 France
12 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union

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