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'Personal reasons': France star misses training before Six Nations finale

NEWS: France forward coach Laurent Sempere said flank Charles Ollivon was missing from Friday’s training session before this weekend’s Six Nations game with England for “personal reasons”.

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During the training session before the tournament-ending game in Lyon, Alexandre Roumat wore Ollivon’s No.7 bib with travelling reserve Esteban Abadie promoted to the bench.

Ollivon, 30, has been a crucial part of the French set-up since Fabien Galthie took over in late 2019 and captained the team against Italy in Round Three of the Six Nations with Gregory Alldritt injured.

“Charles wasn’t here today [Friday], he will be back tonight,” Sempere said.

“He had to be absent for personal reasons but there are no worries about his participation in the match,” he added.

Les Bleus still have a slim chance of lifting the Six Nations title but need the result between table-topping Ireland and Scotland earlier on Saturday to go their way.

“Even if there’s a second place or a potential first place, we’re not really thinking about it,” France captain Gregory Alddritt told reporters.

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“It’s always important to be high in the standings,” he added.

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England cross the Channel with their own ambitions of claiming an improbable title by scoring four tries or more in a victory over France and hope Ireland lose to Scotland by more than seven points.

“We know for all our fans, all French people, they [England] are our best of enemies,” No.8 Alldritt said.

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“French people love this match, which makes it a special moment too,” he added.

‘Right ingredients’

The last time the sides met Alldritt’s outfit claimed a record 53-10 win over England in Twickenham.

Since last March head coach Steve Borthwick has led the outfit to a third place at the 2023 World Cup and an impressive 23-22 win over in-form Ireland last Saturday.

France are also in a buoyant mood after Sunday’s 45-25 victory over Wales following a sluggish start to their campaign.

“I’m not in their changing room. I can’t tell you what they’re saying but they will have it in a corner of their minds,” Alldritt said.

“We know that it’s not the same England team.

“We haven’t prepared this game by saying we have an advantage because of that.

“We know when we put the right ingredients in place, aggression, when we have quick rucks and we put our three-quarters in good conditions like we did last week we can perform well,” he added.

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