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Laporte bows out with nine changes

  • Story Highlights
  • France make nine changes for their World Cup playoff against Argentina
  • It will be coach Bernard Laporte's last game in charge of the French side
  • He is to become his country's Secretary of State for Youth and Sports.
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PARIS, France -- France have made nine changes to their starting XV for Friday's Rugby World Cup third-place playoff match against Argentina at the Parc des Princes.

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Laporte is to become France's Secretary of Sate for Youth and Sports.

It will be the last match in charge for coach Bernard Laporte, who will step down to become France's Secretary of State for Youth and Sports.

He had hoped to crown his eight years in the job by leading his team into Saturday's final, but that dream vanished when his side went down 14-9 to England in last week's semifinal in Paris.

Laporte makes four changes to the pack, recalling Jean-Baptiste Poux at loose-head prop, Lionel Nallet at lock and Yannick Nyanga and Imanol Harinordoquy in the back row

Frederic Michalak will play at fly-half with David Skrela in the center, Christophe Dominici and Aurelien Rougerie on the wings and Clement Poitrenaud at full-back.

Damien Traille, full-back against England, reverts to center.

Argentina have made six changes, but coach Marcelo Loffreda has decided not to rest skipper and scrum-half Agustin Pichot.

The absentees include prop Martin Scelzo and hooker Mario Ledesma who were injured during the semifinal defeat against South Africa.

The match will be the second meeting of the sides at this tournament, which opened with Argentina stunning the hosts with a 17-12 defeat on September 7.

Team manager Jo Maso said France would take the match lightly after the disappointment of the traumatic loss to England.

"I think it's a great challenge to compete for third place especially as this time there will be a podium and medals at the end of it," he said.

"I remember that in 2003, the All Blacks were given their medals in the dressing-rooms.

"We will be going all out to win this match not just for the sake of our veterans nor to give match time to the eight players who played no part in the quarterfinals and semifinals," added Laporte.

The Pumas were beaten 37-13 by South Africa in their semifinal on Sunday.

France: Clement Poitrenaud; Aurelien Rougerie, David Skrela, Damien Traille, Christophe Dominici; Frederic Michalak, Jean-Baptiste Elissalde; Imanol Harinordoquy, Thierry Dusautoir, Yannick Nyanga; Jerome Thion, Lionel Nallet; Pieter De Villiers, Raphael Ibanez, Jean-Baptiste Poux.

Replacements: Sebastien Bruno, Nicolas Mas, Sebastien Chabal, Remy Martin, Pierre Mignoni, Lionel Beauxis, Vincent Clerc.

Argentina: Ignacio Corleto, Federico Aramburu, Gonzalo Tiesi, Felipe Contepomi, Horacio Agulla, Juan Martin Hernandez, Agustin Pichot, Juan Fernandez-Lobbe, Gonzalo Longo, Martin Durand, Patricio Albacete, Rimas Alvarez Kairelis, Omar Hasan, Alberto Vernet Basualdo, Rodrigo Roncero.

Replacements: Eusebio Guinazu, Marcos Ayerza, Esteban Lozada, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Nicolas Fernandez Miranda, Federico Todeschini, Hernan Senillosa. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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