Medard ruled out of England clash

France tonight suffered a blow to their preparations for Saturday’s clash with England when full-back Maxime Medard was ruled out.

France tonight suffered a blow to their preparations for Saturday’s clash with England when full-back Maxime Medard was ruled out.

Medard pulled his left hamstring in training on Monday, but only this afternoon he had boldly stated he was “99%” sure of being fit to play.

However, the decision to replace him in the team for Twickenham was taken after testing his hamstring in an afternoon session.

The 24-year-old Toulouse player underwent an MRI scan this morning and later admitted he was feeling “a little discomfort” but stressed the injury was only minor.

Medard had switched from the wing for the match, but will now be replaced by his club-mate Clement Poitrenaud.

Meanwhile, Julien Bonnaire has promised there will be no fear in the France ranks when Marc Lievremont’s troops run out on Saturday.

The Clermont Auvergne flanker has surprisingly been relegated to the bench for the match known as ’Le Crunch’, having started in France’s opening victories over Scotland and Ireland.

Both France and England have perfect records after the opening two rounds of matches, and Martin Johnson’s home side are hot favourites to emerge from the tea-time contest with their 100% status intact.

Bonnaire, 32, has admitted that he could not leave his house for a week after France’s last visit to Twickenham for fear of the abuse he might take, after England drubbed Les Bleus 34-10 in 2009.

It was, Bonnaire said, “a total debacle” for France, who should certainly not be such walkovers this weekend.

“We have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” Bonnaire said.

“We are going there without pressure but with determination to enjoy ourselves. We have no reason to envy the English.

“We also have quality players. We have points to make. We know what to expect, a physical challenge from the start of the match. I think Tom Palmer said he wanted to reduce the French to mush. We’ll see.”

Coach Lievremont was disappointed with aspects of France’s performance against Ireland in Dublin, spurring him to make four personnel changes for the England trip.

Speaking to Midi Olympique magazine’s website, rugbyrama.fr, Bonnaire said: “Some things weren’t extraordinary and we still have a lot of details to sort out. But the most important thing was to win.

“After that, we must continue working to be more efficient. We know we can do much better.

However, it is never easy to win in Ireland, therefore it’s very important for confidence.”

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