French selectors admit mistakes

Photosport     16 Nov 2006     Photosport

With seven changes from the side that lost 3-47 for Sunday's (NZT) Test, Maso said management had to look at the role it contributed towards the loss.

"Maybe we weren't up to the task either," he told AFP.

"Maybe, at some time or another, we failed to play our role."

In the absence of lock and captain Fabien Pelous, the captaincy has been entrusted to hooker Raphael Ibanez.

Coach Bernard Laporte said he was expecting the Wasps player to step up to the plate.

"Raphael might well be the captain but he will have to be performing well as a player more than anything because he is among the players who went missing in the second half.

By replacing halfback Dimitri Yachvili with Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, the selectors will field the 27th halfback-first five-eighths combination of Laporte's 79-Test match tenure.

Elissalde and makeshift first five-eighths Damien Traille are the latest combination.

"It's not a question of seeing what the best half-back partnership is. It's more a question of seeing who is the best scrum-half," Laporte said.

The call-up of fullback Pepito Elhorga to replace Julien Laharrague was seen as his chance to push for a World Cup place.

"Pepito is one of the fastest and toughest players in the team," Laporte said.

"He's been working with a sports psychologist. It's up to him to seize the day."