Same again for French

Now we know it definitely was the best French team that the All Blacks whipped in the Pool Stages. They’re back for the World Cup semi-final.

French coach Marc Lievremont named the same 22 that played England in the quarter-final, 20 of whom played a role in the 37-17 defeat against the All Blacks.

When Lievremont named the side for the Pool match he was accused of throwing the game and not picking his best match squad. He defended it at the time and has made the biggest statement by entrusting the same players to beat Wales in Saturday’s semi-final.

‘Once again, the same team that played Tonga and England,’ Lievremont told the media. ‘I would not have hesitated to name a different team if I felt that would have been better. The danger is for the players to start thinking they are too good… we are Latin, so there is always a risk. The Anglo-Saxons are far more pragmatic.

‘I hope the prospect of playing in the final is enough.’

Wales have a couple of injury concerns and their match 22 has not yet been finalised.

France: Maxime Medard, Vincent Clerc, Aurelien Rougerie, Maxime Mermoz, Alexis Palisson, Morgan Parra, Dimitri Yachvili, Imanol Harinordoquy, Julien Bonnaire, Thierry Dusautoir (capt), Lionel Nallet, Pascal Pape, Nicolas Mas, William Servat, Jean-Baptiste Poux. Subs: Dimitri Szarzewski, Fabien Barcella, Julien Pierre, Louis Picamoles, Francois Trinh-Duc, David Marty, Cedric Heymans