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Merceron axed from French side
19 February 2003 11:03am
Fly-half Gerald Merceron has lost his place in France's side for the RBS 6 Nations clash with Scotland in Paris.
Merceron missed two penalties and a conversion in the 25-17 defeat to England at Twickenham.
Merceron has been told to use England rival Jonny Wilkinson as his role model if he wants to get his job back.
Les Bleus coach Bernard Laporte insists the fly-half should be as dedicated as his England counterpart who he described as a great professional.
"It is true to say that Gerald's misses on Saturday penalised the whole team," said Laporte of the two missed penalties and a conversion that cost France eight points.
"If he had scored all his goals we would have probably won."
Wilkinson's radar-like boot, however, was tuned to perfection as he tallied 20 points on his own from five penalties, a drop goal and the conversion of England's only try scored by Jason Robinson.
"Wilkinson has been a great professional since the age of 15, he did not wait for someone to tell him to go and score goals during training - he did it himself," said Laporte.
"He is efficient and has obviously achieved a great deal by himself.
"If he knows he won't be able to kick balls one day, he spends time doing weights - every day he is working hard.
"There is no secret he is a great professional.
"If a player does not want to train every day for an hour, I can't tell him to go and do it.
"Gerald missed goals by 20 meters (on Saturday) and I can't believe that he is training one hour per day.
"I told him he should be more professional. A goalkicker who does not have at least 90% success in a match logically endangers the team."
The other main change in Bernard Laporte's starting line-up has been the inclusion of Stade Francais prop Sylvain Marconnet at the expense of Christian Califano.
France team to play Scotland at Stade de France:
Backs: C Pointrenaud; A Rougerie, X Garbajosa, D Traille, V Clerc; F Gelez, F Galthie;
Forwards: J-J Crenca, R Ibanez, S Marconnet, F Pelous, O Brouzet, S Betsen, O Magne, I Harinordoquy.
Replacements: J-B Rue, C Califano, D Auradou, S Chabal, D Yachvili, G Merceron, T Castaignede.
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