Fly-half Frederic Michalak, suffering from the effects of a dislocated shoulder, has been left out of the French side for their RBS Six Nations clash with Italy on Saturday
Fly-half Frederic Michalak, suffering from the effects of a dislocated shoulder, has been left out of the French side for their RBS Six Nations clash with Italy on Saturday and is replaced by uncapped Biarritz stand-off Julien Peyrelongue in an
otherwise unchanged team.
The 22-year-old got the nod ahead of South African-born centre
Liebenberg, who had been thought of as a possible replacement for
“We talked it over with Liebenberg,” said France coach
“However we felt he wasn’t ready for it. He explained that he hasn’t played fly-half for two years at
Francais,” added Laporte.
Laporte revealed that 21-year-old Michalak could have played if
given him an injection to relieve the pain.
“However we thought in the best interests of the player and
his club that
we couldn’t do such a thing,” said Laporte.
Peyrelongue, 22, was due to play for the France A side this week
form a relatively inexperienced halfback partnership – the 19th under
Laporte’s five year stewardship – with Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, who
his fifth cap in the 35-17 defeat of Ireland last Saturday.
Before the Ireland match, Elissalde had only made four brief
a replacement and he will have extra duties on Saturday as he will
have to do
all the kicking for goal as Peyrelongue is not a specialist.
Laporte, though, had no qualms about pitching the Biarritz
the fray against the weakest team in the tournament, who were
thrashed 50-9 by
Grand Slam holders and world champions England last Sunday.
“Peyrelongue is a very good player,” said the
39-year-old. “The only small problem is that he can’t kick for goal. However he is good both in attack and in defence and he has
lot in his kicking out of hand,” added Laporte, who was
especially vexed by
Michalak’s positional kicking against the Irish.
Peyrelongue burst into the spotlight in 2002 when Biarritz won the
championship and is a former French Under-21 international.
Both of the players who made their debuts against Ireland —
Servat and lock Pascal Pape, who scored a try, retained their places
the vastly more experienced Yannick Bru and David Auradou.
Nicolas Brusque (Biarritz); Vincent Clerc (Toulouse), Yannick
(Toulouse), Damien Traille (Pau), Christophe Dominici (Stade
Peyrelongue (Biarritz), Jean-Baptiste Elissalde (Toulouse); Imanol
Harinordoquy (Pau), Olivier Magne (Montferrand), Serge Betsen
Pascal Pape (Bourgoin), Fabien Pelous (Toulouse, capt), Pieter De
(Stade Francais), William Servat (Toulouse), Sylvain Marconnet (Stade
Replacements: Yannick Bru (Toulouse), Jean-Jacques Crenca (Agen),
Auradou (Stade Francais), Thomas Lievremont (Biarritz), Dimitri
(Biarritz), Brian Liebenberg (Stade Francais), Pepito Elhorga (Agen)