France

Yachvili: 'France ready for a scrap'

Thu, 15 Mar 2012 00:00
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Dimitri Yachvili has refound his place as France scrumhalf for his team's final Six Nations match against Grand Slam-seeking Wales, insisting his team were ready for a "scrap".

The Biarritz playmaker certainly brings a lot to the table: an unerring boot in front of the posts, a vocal presence to boss his pack and the ability to produce quick ball for his backs.

An injury in France's opening victory over Italy saw him sidelined but even when he'd recovered, coach Philippe Saint-Andre stuck with Julien Dupuy, who had been drafted in as back-up to Morgan Parra.

Dupuy had a shocker in the defeat by England and his services have duly been dispensed of for this weekend, Yachvili lining up with Lionel Beauxis at halfback as Saint-Andre starts with Francois Trinh-Duc and Parra on the bench.

Yachvili said he couldn't wait to get stuck in at what is expected to be a packed and vociferous Millennium Stadium, with Wales seeking their third Grand Slam in eight seasons.

"Of course, the situation has changed because three matches have past," the scrumhalf said of his reintegration into the team.

"There's a little bit more fatigue. There's a need for a bit of physical and above all mental freshness because they've had two tough weekends.

"There's a huge challenge awaiting us. Despite the last defeat [by England] the squad remains close and together."

Yachvili added: "I feel good at the moment, and long may it stay that way. I was injured for one weekend, which allowed me to sit out, to regenerate myself a little physically.

"After the World Cup I was also on the sidelines for four weeks which allowed me to think about other things."

Yachvili, seen as a talismanic player for Biarritz who are currently courting relegation from the Top 14, insisted that the fortunes of both club and France could not be dictated by one player.

"We count on everybody," he said. "I hope that they're not counting solely on me!

"We no longer have anything to win, but we have the honour of the jersey and the pride of the France team.

"When we come together as the France team, it's to win matches so the motivation is always there.

"Even if there's no longer any chance of winning the Six Nations, we must carry on and honour it as best we can in the magnificent Millennium Stadium. It's a temple for every rugby player."

Yachvili said that France had nothing to prove over the World Cup semi-final against Wales, which the French won 9-8, with Welsh captain Sam Warburton red-carded for a spear tackle.

"That semifinal is in the past. It's another thing for us," he said. "It always brews up a storm with the Welsh. It doesn't pose us any problems if they're seeking revenge: we're ready for a scrap."

AFP

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