France keen to start against Italy in Rugby World Cup

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France rugby union centre Wesley Fofana is not “100 percent fit” and so misses the Frenchmen’s opening match against Italy.

France keen to start against Italy in Rugby World Cup

= INCLUDES WHITE FLASH =

SHOWS: LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (SEPTEMBER 17, 2015) (REUTERS – FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FRANCE RUGBY UNION SQUAD HEAD COACH PHILIPPE SAINT-ANDRE, TALKING ABOUT INJURED CENTRE WESLEY FOFANA, SAYING:

“I expect that he will be 120 percent (fit) Wednesday (September 23 against Romania). But at the moment he is not 100% and I need guys completely fully fit and ready for the first game; ready mentally, ready physically and he is not yet so I don’t want to take any risk. We have a big squad – like all the teams – but a good squad, with 31 good players, so I pick the guys that are 100 percent fit”

2. WHITE FLASH

3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SAINT-ANDRE, ASKED IF FRANCE HAVE IMPROVED SINCE SIX NATIONS, SAYING:

“Much, much better. Much better. I think we show it already in the warm-up game (against England). Ifeel that you know. We are in preparation since five July, six July and the team is ready; the team is much, much fitter; and we are much more happy to play together, for now anyway. We are looking forwards to this first game against Italy and also it’s all the time tough”

STORY: France will be without star centre Wesley Fofana for their opening Rugby World Cup match against Italy on Saturday (September 19).

The Clemont Auvergne player has scored an impressive 11 tries in 35 appearances for Les Bleus and will be a huge flow in the French midfield for their match against fellow Pool D heavyweights Italy at Twickenham.

Fofana should be available for France’s second fixture, against Romanaia on September 23, but Saturday’s game has come too soon for the 27-year-old.

“I expect that he will be 120 percent (fit) Wednesday (September 23 against Romania). But at the moment he is not 100% and I need guys completely fully fit and ready for the first game; ready mentally, ready physically and he is not yet so I don’t want to take any risk. We have a big squad – like all the teams – but a good squad, with 31 good players, so I pick the guys that are 100 percent fit,” French head coach Philippe Saint-Andre told a news conference on Thursday (September 17).

Alexandre Dumoulin and Mathieu Bastaureud come in to the centre.

France lost three games in htis year’s Six Nations Championship, finishing fourth, and have struggled to maintain consistency in recent years.

However, Saint-Andre believes they are happier and better prepared, coming into this tournament, especially after their victory over England in Paris in August.

“Much, much better. Much better. I think we show it already in the warm-up game (against England). Ifeel that you know. We are in preparation since five July, six July and the team is ready; the team is much, much fitter; and we are much more happy to play together, for now anyway. We are looking forwards to this first game against Italy and also it’s all the time tough,” said the 48-year-old former international.

Ireland are also in a tricky Pool D and Saint-Andre knows his side need to hit the ground running.

France face Romania and Canada in the coming weeks, before a crucial match-up with Ireland in a potential Pool D decider on October 11 in Cardiff.

Tags : rugby, italy, against, start, Keen, france

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