Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 18th 2015 Contents A52
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, September 18, 2015
LONDON---France and Italy will be
without their star centres when they
meet for their opening Rugby World
Cup match at Twickenham tomorrow.
Centre Wesley Fofana failed to recover
from a thigh injury sustained in the last
warm-up match, against Scotland on
September 5, and was missing when the
team was announced yesterday.
Italy was already resigned to being
without its own star centre, Luca Morisi,
for the whole tournament after he tore
ligaments in his right knee in a warm-
up against Wales.
Morisi is harder to replace, as Italy s
backline options are considerably weaker
than France s, which brought in Alexandre
Dumoulin to partner the powerful Math-
ieu Bastareaud in midfield.
Michele Campagnaro, the Exter centre
making his World Cup debut, is Morisi s
replacement for the Pool D game.
Otherwise, France coach Philippe
Saint-Andre picked his strongest side.
Sebastien Tillous-Borde was preferred
to Morgan Parra at scrumhalf, meaning
No. 10 Frederic Michalak will take kicking
Italy will also be without inspirational
captain Sergio Parisse, who is missing
the start of the World Cup after having
fluid drained from his left leg. Samuela
Vunisa is the No. 8 against France.
"Sergio brings us a lot of energy and
leadership," Italy centre Andrea Masi
said, "and everyone now has to take on
that responsibility for the match. He is
an exceptional player."
The French have got off to a rocky
start to the Rugby World Cup---and they
haven t even played yet.
The France squad is based in Croydon,
a town located about 15 kilometres south
of central London, for the first two weeks
of the tournament, and already a couple
of incidents have made the headlines.
Prop Uini Atonio complained that a
wedding party at the team hotel on Sat-
urday was so loud that he was kept
awake until 2 am, when he was "forced
to put my headphones on to cover my
"We might have to change hotel," the
125-kilogramme Atonio said.
And on Wednesday evening, France s
team bus was slapped with a parking
ticket as it waited at a bus stop while
players had dinner at a restaurant.
France team spokesman Lionel
Rossigneux played down reports that
some players are unhappy with their
"Things are going very well,"
Rossigneux told The Associated Press.
"We re staying there until (September)
30. There s nothing in particular to point
"I know a lot of things were said at
the start by the British tabloids...but
there s no problem here."
France s first game in Pool D is against
Italy at Twickenham on Saturday.
The French decided not to get a hotel
in central London because of the traffic
conditions in the city, choosing instead
to stay out in the suburbs. A similar
decision was made in the 2011 Rugby
World Cup, when the squad was based
in Takapuna, on the other side of the
harbor from central Auckland.
There was little to do there, either,
although Takapuna---unlike Croydon---
had a beach. The then-France coach
Marc Lievremont would go paddle-surf-
ing at times during the tournament.
Four years on, the anticipation that
is building in Britain ahead of the tour-
nament, which starts on Friday with
England-Fiji at Twickenham, appears
to have passed by the French squad.
"We re getting aware of that," France
hooker Guilhem Guirado said, "even if
things are rather quiet in Croydon. I
don t know about how it is in London."
GLASGOW---Andy Murray will play
his friend and practice partner Thanasi
Kokkinakis in the opening match of
the Davis Cup semifinal between
Britain and Australia as the host coun-
try bids to reach its first final since
Murray will open the best-of-five
series today against Kokkinakis on an
indoor hard court at the Emirates
Arena. Dan Evans, who was brought
in at late notice as Britain s second
singles player ahead of James Ward
and Kyle Edmund, was drawn to face
Bernard Tomic in the second match.
Murray s brother, Jamie, and
Dominic Inglot were nominated to
face Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth
in Saturday s doubles.
The third-ranked Andy Murray
believes the blend of his experience
and home support will be a big advan-
tage in the opening match against the
72nd-ranked Kokkinakis. The two have
never played each other.
Murray missed a team dinner on
Wednesday night because of a stom-
ach bug but said he is ready to play.
Australia has won the Davis Cup
29 times, the last time in 2003. Britain
has not won the Cup since 1936.
The winning team in Glasgow will
face either Belgium or Argentina in
Scotland's Tommy Seymour, right, is tackled by France's Wesley Fofana during an international friendly rugby
match between France and Scotland at the Stade de France stadium in Saint Denis, north of Paris, France, last
Saturday. AP PHOTO
French off to rocky start
at Rugby World Cup
Murray faces practice partner in Davis Cup semis
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