Wed, Oct 17, 2007 - Page 19 News List

RWC Briefs

AGENCIES

■ ARGENTINA

Eusebio Guinazu called up

Argentina have called hooker Eusebio Guinazu into their World Cup squad as a replacement for the injured Mario Ledesma, team sources said on Monday. Ledesma suffered a leg injury in the 37-13 semi-final defeat by South Africa on Sunday and will be replaced in the team by Alberto Vernet Basualdo for the third-place playoff against France on Friday. Guinazu, who plays for French club Agen and was part of Argentina's pre-tournament squad of 41 before missing the cut for the World Cup, is likely to be on the bench when coach Marcelo Loffreda names his side today.

■ NEW ZEALAND

Kiwis support Henry

Most New Zealanders say All Blacks coach Graham Henry should be retained despite the team's worst ever rugby World Cup performance, according to a survey released yesterday. New Zealand were beaten by France in the quarter-finals this month, leaving Henry in a tenuous position as the New Zealand Rugby Union reviews the failed campaign. While history shows failed World Cup coaches are not retained, the poll by UMR Research found 61 percent of New Zealanders thought Henry deserved to be reappointed. If he is given the axe, the poll found a majority of people were unsure who should replace him, with Canterbury Crusaders coach Robbie Deans seen as the best of the pack. As for the 18-20 loss to France, nearly two thirds of respondents put that down to one bad game by an otherwise champion team, the All Blacks having gone into the World Cup as the overwhelming favorites. That compared to 27 percent who said the result was down to a deep-seated weakness in the team.

■ FRANCE

Laporte changes nine

Coach Bernard Laporte yesterday made nine changes to his starting line-up for what will be last match in charge against Argentina in the World Cup third place play-off at the Parc des Prince in Paris on Friday. Laporte will stand down after eight years and 98 games at the helm hoping to bow out on a positive note one week after their 14-9 semi-final defeat to England last Saturday. Four of the changes come in the pack with the return of Jean-Baptiste Poux at loose-head prop, Lionel Nallet at lock and Yannick Nyanga and Imanol Harinordoquy in the back row. Among the backs, Frederic Michalak takes over at flyhalf with David Skrela at center, Christophe Dominici and Aurelien Rougerie on the wings and Clement Poitrenaud at fullback. Damien Traille, who played fullback against England returns to his more customary center position. It will be the second meeting between the two teams at this World Cup, Argentina having won the tournament opener 17-12 on Sept. 7. The Pumas lost 37-13 to South Africa on Sunday.

■ FRANCE

Sebastien Chabal cleared

France forward Sebastien Chabal was cleared on Monday night of a dangerous tackle charge by the Rugby World Cup disciplinary commission. Chabal had been cited for an alleged dangerous tackle on England second-row Simon Shaw during France's 14-9 semi-final loss on Saturday. He can now play in France's match for third place against Argentina on Friday. Judicial officer Professor Lorne Crerar determined that the actions of Chabal in the tackle on Shaw in the second minute of the second half "could not of themselves be construed to be an act of foul play," a RWC statement said.

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