Pelous vows to put France back on track

FRANCE captain Fabien Pelous has vowed to address the problems which led to his side crashing to a shock defeat against Scotland in their RBS 6 Nations Championship opener.

Coach Bernard Laporte has named a 28-man squad for Saturday's Paris clash with Ireland, adding six players flankers Serge Betsen and Olivier Magne, hooker Raphael Ibanez, centre Damien Traille, winger Aurelien Rougerie and lock Pascal Pape to his squad. Laporte's men took the field at Murrayfield expecting comfortably to see off the Scots, whom they had beaten on seven consecutive occasions prior to Sunday. But Sean Lamont crossed for two tries to take his international tally to five and Chris Paterson kicked 10 points as Frank Hadden's side claimed a famous 20-16 win.

The loss of Yannick Jauzion with a fractured toe an injury which will also keep him out of the Ireland game this weekend was a major blow.

They boast a plethora of class centres, but Jauzion is the jewel in the crown and his replacement Ludovic Valbon had a poor game in a misfiring French backline. Celebrated stand-off Frederic Michalak perhaps hampered by a groin strain was also badly out of sorts and only Florian Fritz of their illustrious three-quarters enhanced his reputation.

Pelous, who won his 103rd cap in Edinburgh having recently completed a nine-match ban for elbowing Wallaby hooker Brendan Cannon, admitted that France's fluency was a problem against Scotland. In recalling experienced forwards Serge Betsen, Olivier Magne and Raphael Ibanez for the match with Ireland, Laporte has recognised the need for extra ball-carrying prowess against the likes of Lions duo Paul O'Connell and Simon Easterby.

Laporte felt his side's inability to compete in the tackle area contributed to their unexpected Scottish defeat.

"They had the better of the one-on-one tackles," he said. "There were too many times when we were too weak in that area. The Scots put an emphasis on carrying the ball and they dominated that sector of the match.

"We did not have the calmness I would have liked. It's a shame because it was perhaps one of the best second-halves we have played in a long time. "But you can't give your opponents a 10-point start and keep losing the ball in impact. If we hadn't given them 10 points in the first half, I'm sure we would have won the match."

Laporte will name his side Thursday.

FRANCE (squad v Ireland) Backs: N. Brusque (Biarritz), A. Rougerie (Clermont Auvergne), C. Dominici (Stade Francais), C. Heymans (Toulouse), G. Bousses (Bourgoin), L. Valbon (Brive), F. Fritz (Toulouse), D. Traille (Biarritz), B. Boyet (Bourgoin), F. Michalak (Toulouse), D. Yachvili (Biarritz), J-B Elissalde (Toulouse).

Forwards: S. Marconnet (Stade Francais), P. De Villiers (Stade Francais), O. Milloud (Bourgoin), D. Szarzewski (Stade Francais), S. Bruno (Sale), R. Ibanez (Wasps), P. Pape (Bourgoin), J. Thion (Biarritz), F. Pelous (Toulouse), L. Nallet (Castres), O. Magne (London Irish), S. Betsen (Biarritz), Y. Nyanga (Toulouse), J. Bonnaire (Bourgoin), R. Martin (Stade Francais), T. Lievremont (Biarritz).

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