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Thion aims to silence doubters
8 March 2008 12:57pm
Jerome Thion wants to see the French pack prove their critics wrong by producing a dominant display against Italy in Sunday's RBS 6 Nations Championship clash in Paris.
With the Italians notoriously strong scrummagers, Les Bleus are being tipped to struggle in that department again this weekend.
But lock Thion, recalled to the starting line-up for the first time since last October's defeat to Argentina in the World Cup third place match, is determined to help put the record straight.
"We know that the Italian pack would love to show its strength against us," said the Biarritz second-row forward.
"But on our side, we want to prove to everybody that what has been said and written about the French scrum is wrong.
"We have worked enormously hard in this department this week. And we want to see our pack performing again."
Thion, 30, was one of former France head coach Bernard Laporte's undroppables during the last few years of his reign, and played in all the key games in the World Cup.
But he endured a below-par start to the season and new Les Bleus boss Marc Lievremont ignored him for the first two matches of the Six Nations, wins against Scotland and Ireland.
But Thion was recalled for the match against England a fortnight ago, beginning the game on the bench, and is now back in the starting XV for the visit of the Azzurri.
Thion does not blame Lievremont for looking elsewhere for second-row talent at the start of the tournament, saying: "I had some difficulties upon returning after the World Cup.
"With Biarritz, the start to the season was difficult and my own personal displays were not as good as people would have hoped.
"It was logical that I was not called up. But since then, I have put in the necessary effort to get back into the squad."
Thion is one of a number of veterans recalled by Lievremont as France look to get their campaign back on track after the 24-13 defeat to England.
Gifted Toulouse centre Yannick Jauzion and scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili, Thion's team-mate at Biarritz, are also back.
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