FRANCE’S HOPES OF scoring an important Six Nations win against England were dealt a cruel blow last night when it emerged that Maxime Medard will play no part in Saturday’s test.
The 24-year-old has been one of Les Bleus‘ most consistent performers thus far, scoring important tries against both Scotland and Ireland as France got their 2011 campaign off to a winning start.
Although Medard picked up a hamstring strain in training on Monday, he was expected to make a full recovery and was named in Marc Lièvremont’s starting 15 earlier this week. Rather than starting on the wing as per usual, Medard had been named at full-back for Saturday’s trip to England, with his club-mate Clement Poitrenaud dropping to the bench.
Though the man they call “the Detonator” reassured fans yesterday morning that he was “99%” sure of being fit, he struggled during a training session yesterday afternoon, forcing Lièvremont to drop him from the match-day 22.
Medard’s withdrawal means that Poitrenaud has been restored to his full-back berth, while Brive’s Alexis Palisson fills the vacant spot on the bench.
England: Ben Foden; Chris Ashton, Mike Tindall (captain), Shontayne Hape (Bath Rugby), Mark Cueto; Toby Flood, Ben Youngs; Andrew Sheridan, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Louis Deacon, Tom Palmer, Tom Wood, James Haskell, Nick Easter.
Replacements: S Thompson, A Corbisiero, S Shaw, H Fourie , D Care, J Wilkinson, M Banahan.
France:Clement Poitrenaud; Yoann Huget, Aurelien Rougerie, Yannick Jauzion, Vincent Clerc; Francois Trinh-Duc, Dimitri Yachvili; Thomas Domingo, William Servat, Nicolas Mas, Julien Pierre, Lionel Nallet, Thierry Dusautoir (captain), Sebastien Chabal, Imanol Harinordoquy.
Replacements: Alexis Palisson, Guilhem Guirado, Sylvain Marconnet, Jerome Thion, Morgan Parra, Julien Bonnaire, Damien Traille.