Faure’s France call-up solves potentially painful dilemma

LIONEL FAURE admits his call-up to the France squad for the RBS 6 Nations Championship allowed him to dodge the potentially painful dilemma of switching his allegiance to England.

Faure, who plays in the Guinness Premiership with Sale Sharks, would have been eligible to feature for England from this summer onwards.

The 30-year-old prop admitted being approached by the England management about the possibility, but being selected by Les Bleus for the first time for this year’s Six Nations put an end to that possibility.

“England’s forwards coach actually contacted my club to find out what I was up to, having spent a number of years in England, and when I would have been available,” he said.

“It would have been in June 2008 and the question would have been asked at that time. Now, of course, it will no longer be asked!”

A series of impressive performances by Faure for the Sharks over the past couple of years have clearly attracted the interest of France selectors.

And with Olivier Milloud, Sylvain Marconnet and Pieter De Villiers all unavailable because of various injuries, Faure was an obvious choice for new coach Marc Lievremont.

Having had spells with Clermont-Auvergne, La Rochelle and Pau, Faure, who will make his debut against Scotland on Sunday, has often been viewed as a journeyman.

But there is no doubting his pedigree now, and he is confident he can make the step-up this weekend.

“It is going to be something else, that’s for sure,” said Faure, who has outshone England powerhouse Andrew Sheridan at Sale this season.

“Having said that, I have been lucky enough to play Heineken Cup matches at the highest level, notably against Stade Francais last season. I am going to have to be careful with my positioning, because after 20 minutes, I risk being shot to pieces.

“I have to manage my efforts but by playing every weekend, I believe you get prepared for this, even though these are matches at a different level.”

France’s inexperienced front row will be under scrutiny, with props Faure and Julien Brugnaut both uncapped and Toulouse hooker William Servat making his return to international action after a lengthy absence. Faure is confident they can stamp their authority against the Scots in that department, however.

“We are going to have to find some cohesion quickly and be ready for Sunday,” he added.

“But the atmosphere is good and everything has gone well within the squad.

France have had injury problems to deal with this week.

Jean-Baptiste Poux was the first to be ruled out, with a thigh injury, and the in-form Toulouse prop is set to be sidelined for two weeks.

He was replaced by Nicolas Mas, who is on the bench this weekend.

Centre Florian Fritz then fractured his lower leg on Wednesday, ruling him out of the rest of the Six Nations.

David Marty came into the squad as a replacement and he will start alongside Damien Traille in midfield against Scotland. Lievremont had the option of promoting fly-half David Skrela off the bench and playing him out of position at centre.

But Marty, who did not make the original 22 despite being a regular fixture in France’s team during last year’s World Cup, was given the nod over the Stade Francais man yesterday.

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