Wales sweat on Shane

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Wales sweat on Shane

Wales star Shane Williams could miss the England match because of an ankle injury.

The winger scored for the Six Nations champs on Sunday as Wales recorded a 26-13 win, but Williams is now fighting to be ready for the next fixture at Cardiff.

Coach Warren Gatland has delayed the team announcement until Thursday to allow Williams maximum recovery time. Wales are also waiting on skipper Ryan Jones (calf injury) and centre Gavin Henson (calf).

France bank on Boyoud

Dax prop Reanud Boyoud is set to replace the injured Benoit Lecouls for France’s clash with Scotland.

Lecouls injured his neck in the recent loss to Ireland necessitating Boyoud’s call-up. Coach Marc Lievremont will also be concerned with minor niggles afflicting Sebastien Chabal (back) and Imanol Harinordoquy (knee).

Lievremont will announce his match 22 on Wednesday.

France squad to face Scotland:
Backs: Maxime Medard, Clement Poitrenaud, Cedric Heymans (all Toulouse), Julien Malzieu (Clermont Auvergne), Yannick Jauzion, Florian Fritz (both Toulouse), Benoit Baby (Clermont-Auvergne), Lionel Beauxis (Stade Francais), Sebastien Tillous-Borde (Castres), Morgan Parra (Bourgoin).
Forwards: Fabien Barcella (Biarritz), Lionel Faure (Sale), Renaud Boyoud (Dax), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Francais), Benjamin Kayser (Leicester), Lionel Nallet (Castres), Romain Millo-Chluski (Toulouse), Sebastien Chabal (Sale), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz), Fulgence Ouedraogo, Louis Picamoles (both Montpellier), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse).

Gatland stays focused

Wales coach Warren Gatland was pleased with his side’s victory over Scotland but maintained that the performance was not without flaws.

Wales started their Six Nations campaign with a 26-13 victory at Murrayfield and they face England at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.

“[Murrayfield] has been a tough place for Wales to come over the years, so I have to be happy with the result,” Gatland said.

“We have put ourselves in a good position, but we are bearing in mind that there are four games to go – and only a six-day gap before facing England. That will be very physically demanding for the guys.

“I was delighted with the accuracy of most of our play, but there is also plenty for us to work on. It was also important for us to maintain our discipline, and – other than the late yellow card for Martyn Williams – we did that.”

Welsh centre Jamie Roberts is relishing the prospect of facing England.

“It was an absolutely fantastic performance first half – they had us on the edge of our seats at the end but fair play to Scotland they made us work hard,” he said. “I’m looking forward to next week – bring on England.”

Mallett mauled by Italian media

Italy coach Nick Mallett has been roasted for his decision to play Mauro Bergamasco at scrumhalf.

Bergamasco was shifted from his preferred position of flank in the wake of a major injury crisis at No 9. The experiment failed miserably, with Bergamasco replaced at half-time.

“Mauro Bergamasco didn’t deserve that,” said the Gazzetta dello Sport. “For what he represents for Italian rugby, for what he has always given for the azzurra cause, for what he has on his shoulders. Nick Mallett subjected him to a humiliation from which he should have saved him.

“Even if that meant substituting him after only a few minutes and in front of 80,000 people at Twickenham, a stadium that has not been good to the Padovani (Bergamasco) given that his only previous Six Nations appearance there resulted in an 80-23 defeat for Italy.”

The Corriere dello Sport was equally as scathing in their criticism of the decision.

“Playing Mauro Bergamasco at scrumhalf at Twickenham would be like selecting Alessandro Del Piero at centre-back at Wembley: suicide,” said the newspaper.

“A failed experiment after just half an hour. Three tries conceded by the Azzurri and Andrea Marcato lost (to injury) because the predictable mistakes of a ‘Bergamauro’ playing out of his normal role resulted in an increase in pressure on the flyhalf.”

Lievremont laments poor discipline

France coach Marc Lievremont has attributed their defeat to Ireland to the failure of his players to adhere to the laws of the game.

Ireland flyhalf Ronan O’Gara kicked well on Saturday evening, exploiting France’s poor discipline.

“I feel huge disappointment and frustration,” said Lievremont. “The Irish were always making us play catch-up rugby. We all had big hopes for this match.

“The beginning of the match was crucial. We gave away two penalties and allowed Ireland to get their heads in front. It was down to a lack of discipline.”

Lievremont also lamented their poor finishing when opportunities did present themselves.

“We broke the Irish line a lot but we lacked finishing power,” said Lievremont.

“We rushed things too much in our choice of options because we were chasing the match.”

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