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Laporte: We need to revolt

Published: 6:30AM Thursday November 16, 2006 Source: Reuters

France coach Bernard Laporte has made seven changes to the team thrashed 47-3 by New Zealand in Lyon and called on his players to overcome their fear of the All Blacks' aura in Sunday's second test.

"Players have to revolt against the supremacy of the All Blacks but also against themselves," he told a news conference.

"Watching the video of the match, they realised they didn't play at their true level. Some of them disappeared from the game after 20 minutes. They went into hiding because they were scared, not scared physically, but scared of playing poorly.

"We need to revolt but it must be intelligent otherwise it will only bring us penalties and yellow or red cards."

Team manager Jo Maso stressed that "revolt doesn't mean hate or violence." "That will not help us," he said. "There are things that you can't do anymore in professional rugby."

The French will start Sunday's second test at the Stade de France with a new captain and a new halfback pairing, the 27th named by Laporte since he took charge after the 1999 World Cup.

Jean-Baptiste Elissalde takes over at scrumhalf from Dimitri Yachvili alongside first five Damien Traille.

"Yachvili and Elissalde have been in competition for the last three years. Dimitri was not at his best last Saturday," Laporte said. In the pack, hooker Raphael Ibanez, who was on the bench in Lyon, replaces Dimitri Szarzewski and takes over the captaincy from lock Fabien Pelous, who has been ruled out with a rib injury.

At 33, Ibanez has 81 caps to his name, including 27 as a captain. He led Les Bleus to a memorable win over New Zealand in the semi-final of the 1999 World Cup.

"Raphael is a player of great experience. He is also a great communicator and I'm sure that his charisma will help our younger players to recover from Saturday's hammering," said Maso.

Lock Lionel Nallet, flanker Remy Martin and loosehead prop Olivier Milloud are also promoted from the bench, replacing Pelous, Thierry Dusautoir and Sylvain Marconnet.

Infuriating defeat

Cedric Heymans edges out Christophe Dominici on the left wing and Pepito Elhorga has been selected at fullback ahead of Julien Laharrague.

Meanwhile, 32-year-old flanker Serge Betsen has been recalled as a replacement and lock Loic Jacquet, captain of this year's under-21 World Cup winning French team, will make his first appearance on the bench.

"We have selected a team which will try to restore our pride after an infuriating defeat," Maso said.

"The France team we saw last Saturday is not the team who must represent France at the World Cup. The real France team is the team which defeated South Africa (21-16 in Cape Town) last summer, not the team which got such a hiding."

The match at the Stade de France will commemorate the centenary of the French national team, who played their first match on New Year's Day 1906 against New Zealand. The All Blacks won the game 38-8.

"The All Blacks said they played the first test (on Armistice Day) for all the New Zealanders who died during the two World Wars in Europe, I would like our players to spare a thought for all the players who made French rugby over the years when they cross the white line on Saturday and to play for them," Maso said.

The match will be livescored here on tvnz.co.nz.

Team:

15-Pepito Elhorga; 14-Aurelien Rougerie, 13-Florian Fritz, 12-Yannick Jauzion, 11-Cedric Heymans; 10-Damien Traille, 9-Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, 8-Elvis Vermeulen, 7-Remy Martin, 6-Julien Bonnaire, 5-Pascal Pape, 4-Lionel Nallet, 3-Pieter de Villiers, 2-Raphael Ibanez (captain), 1-Olivier Milloud.

Replacements: 16-Dimitri Szarzewski, 17-Sylvain Marconnet, 18-Loic Jacquet, 19-Serge Betsen, 20-Dimitri Yachvili, 21-David Marty, 22-Christophe Dominici.

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