Keo.co.za brings you the latest news ahead of this weekend’s Six Nations matches.
Bastareaud gets second chance
Mathieu Bastareaud will start in France’s midfield alongside Yannick Jauzion for their Six Nations opener against Scotland on Sunday.
Bastareaud was in the middle of a dilpomatic dispute between France and New Zealand last year after he lied to officials, claiming he had been beaten up, but in truth he fell on his face after a night out. After showing good form for Stade Francais, he has been recalled by coach Marc Lievremont.
Fullback Clement Poitrenaud, wing Aurelien Rougerie and flanker Fulgence Ouedraogo are also recalled after they missed the November internationals through injury or a dip in form.
France – 15-Clement Poitrenaud, 14-Benjamin Fall, 13-Mathieu Bastareaud, 12-Yannick Jauzion, 11-Aurelien Rougerie, 10-Francois Trinh-Duc, 9-Morgan Parra, 8-Imanol Harinordoquy, 7-Fulgence Ouedraogo, 6-Thierry Dusautoir (c), 5-Pascal Pape, 4-Lionel Nallet, 3-Nicolas Mas, 2-William Servat, 1-Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16-Dimitri Szarzewski, 17-Luc Ducalcon, 18-Julien Pierre, 19-Julien Bonnaire, 20-Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, 21-David Marty, 22-Vincent Clerc.
Byrne cleared for Twickers clash
Lee Byrne has successfully appealed his two-week ban and will start for Wales against England this Saturday.
The Wales fullback was suspended for his role in the Ospreys’ 16-man debacle. In a recent European Cup game against Leicester, the Welsh club had 16 men on the field at one stage after Byrne returned from the blood bin, and the club has since been fined 25 000 Euros.
An independent appeal committee in Glasgow allowed an appeal and changed Byrne’s punishment to a fine of 5000 Euros. The Lions No 15 will now run out against the Poms at Twickenham.
Gareth Jenkins earns his third start at hooker as Matthew Rees is injured, while James Hook will play outside centre for the first time in his international career.
Wales – Lee Byrne (Ospreys); Tom James (Blues), James Hook (Ospreys), Jamie Roberts (Blues), Shane Williams (Ospreys); Stephen Jones (Scarlets); Gareth Cooper (Blues); Gethin Jenkins (Blues), Gareth Williams (Blues), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Dragons), Andy Powell (Blues), Martyn Williams (Blues), Ryan Jones (Ospreys, c).
Subs: Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Paul James (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Blues), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Richie Rees (Blues), Andrew Bishop (Ospreys), Leigh Halfpenny (Blues).
O’Gara back at 10
Ronan O’Gara reclaims his place at flyhalf in Ireland’s match against Italy at Croke Park on Saturday.
Jonny Sexton kicked all the Paddies’ points in their win over the Springboks in their latest Test last year, but he’s been ruled out with a leg injury. Flank Kevin McLaughlin will make his debut in place of the injured Stephen Ferris.
In other changes, Andrew Trimble ousts Keith Earls on the wing, while Gordon D’Arcy replaces Paddy Wallace at 12.
Ireland – 15 – Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster), 14 – Tommy Bowe (Ospreys), 13 – Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) (c), 12 – Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster), 11 – Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster), 10 – Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster), 9 – Tomas O’Leary (Dolphin/Munster), 1 – Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), 2 – Jerry Flannery (Shannon/Munster), 3 – John Hayes (Bruff/Munster), 4 – Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster), 5 – Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster), 6 – Kevin McLaughlin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), 7 – David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster), 8 – Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster).
Subs: 16 – Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster), 17 – Tom Court (Malone/Ulster), 18 – Leo Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster), 19 – Sean O’Brien (Clontarf/Leinster), 20 – Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster), 21 – Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster), 22 – Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster).
Poms turn to Tait
Martin Johnson has recalled Mathew Tait, Delon Armitage, Rickey Flutey and Nick Easter to his team to face Wales on Saturday.
The latter trio missed the November internationals due to injury and are part of six changes to the side that last to New Zealand in their last Test.
Tait has been out of favour with Johnson but forms a midfield partnership with Flutey, and it will be his second start since the 2007 World Cup final where England lost to the Springboks. Danny Care returns at scrumhalf, as does tighthead David Wilson.
England – 15 Delon Armitage (London Irish), 14 Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks), 13 Mathew Tait (Sale Sharks), 12 Riki Flutey (CA Brive), 11 Ugo Monye (Harlequins), 10 Jonny Wilkinson (RC Toulon), 9 Danny Care (Harlequins), 1 Tim Payne (London Wasps), 2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), 3 David Wilson (Bath Rugby), 4 Simon Shaw (London Wasps), 5 Steve Borthwick (Saracens, captain), 6 James Haskell (Stade Francais), 7 Lewis Moody (Leicester Tigers), 8 Nick Easter (Harlequins).
Subs: 16 Steve Thompson (CA Brive), 17 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), 18 Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers), 19 Steffon Armitage (London Irish), 20 Paul Hodgson (London Irish), 21 Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers), 22 Ben Foden (Northampton Saints).
Mallet sweats on Gower
Nick Mallet has included injured pivot Craig Gower in his 24-man squad for Italy’s Six Nations opener against Ireland.
Gower is currently suffering from a knee injury but could recover in time for Saturday’s clash at Croke Park.
However, should Gower not recover in time, Mallet will give 21-year-old Rovigo flyhalf Riccardo Bocchino his Test debut.
Italy’s match 22 will be announced on Thursday.
Italy Six Nations 24-man squad:
Forwards – Matias Aguero, Mauro Bergamasco, Marco Bortolami, Martin Castrogiovanni, Lorenzo Cittadini, Carlo Antonio Del Fava, Paul Derbyshire, Quintin Geldenhuys, Leonardo Ghiraldini (c), Fabio Ongaro, Salvatore Perugini, Josh Sole, Alessandro Zanni.
Backs – Mirco Bergamasco, Riccardo Bocchino, Gonzalo Canale, Gonzalo Garcia, Craig Gower, Andrea Masi, Luke McLean, Simon Picone, Kaine Robertson, Alberto Sgarbi, Tito Tebaldi.