Click here for quotes from France coach Bernard Laporte and team manager Jo Maso ahead of Les Bleus’ tussle with Ireland at the Stade de France on Saturday.
…Bernard Laporte surveys the scene at squad training at Le Centre National du Rugby in Marcoussis…
BERNARD LAPORTE QUOTES:
– ON THE RECALLS OF VETERANS RAPHAEL IBANEZ AND OLIVIER MAGNE –
“Of course, they (Ibanez and Magne) have more than 70 caps (each), but I always say that one doesn’t have to show his identity papers before crossing the white line.
“I don’t know if they are old. All I can say is that they trained with a lot of enthusiasm all week and that’s the main thing.
“We think Raphael is once again our best hooker and he is also a charismastic player. We know that Olivier is worth a start when he is in top form and he is back to his best (right now).
“When you lose a match, as we did against Scotland, you have to take advantage of the competition for places. Otherwise what will the players who didn’t play in the defeat think?”
– ON KEEPING FREDERIC MICHALAK IN THE SIDE –
“Fred did not perform well (against Scotland) and he knows it. We discussed it with him a lot but we decided to make a wise decision and trust the pairing of Elissalde and Michalak again.
“We want them to show us their talent. Behind them there are Dimitri (Yachvili) and Benjamin (Boyet), who is young and works well.’
“Fred is intelligent enough to know he has to do better or he’ll suffer the same fate as the others – from this point on, the stakes are high for everyone.”
…Raphael Ibanez at training in Marcoussis…
JOE MASO QUOTES:
– ON WHAT IBANEZ AND MAGNE CAN ADD –
“We took our loss to Scotland very badly, and what happened is not acceptable from a team which has World Cup ambitions like us.
“Raphael and Olivier can add dynamism to the team and add pace. Their experience can boost our side. They both have great ability and they can show that age does not matter.
“The most important thing is their determination and their strong mindset. When they are in top form they can achieve great things – and they are in top form.”
– ON STAYING UNBEATEN AT HOME –
“At the start of November we decided that one of our objectives would be to remain unbeaten when playing in France until the 2007 World Cup.
“We did it during the Test matches and we intend to continue that spell at the Stade de France this weekend.”
– ON AURELIEN ROUGERIE’S CALL-UP ON THE RIGHT WING –
“If we selected (Christophe) Dominici at full-back, it’s not to let him watch the forwards play.
“If we selected Rougerie, it’s to use his power and speed. If we selected Magne it’s to benefit from his capacity to support the backline.
“What we need now is to claw our way back to victory.”