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France and Japan announce their Rio squads

More squad announcements for the Rio Olympics. After last week’s announcements from Brazil, New Zealand and Canada, we now have Japan and France.

France

France’s squad will be: Audrey Amiel (Stade Français); Pauline Biscarat (Bobigny); Camille Grassineau (Bordeaux); Lina Guerin (Marcoussis); Elodie Guiglion (FFR); Fanny Horta (FFR, Captain); Shannon Izar (Lille MRCV); Caroline Ladagnous (Bobigny); Jade Le Pesq (Stade Rennais); Marjorie Mayans (Blagnac Saint-Orens); Rose Thomas (Bordeaux); Jennifer Troncy (Montpellier)  

Travelling reserves: Jessie Tremouliere (Romagnat) and Christelle Le Duff (Villelongue). Due to injury Le Duff was replaced by Lauriane Lissar on 20th July.

Management team:Jean-Jacques Gourdy (Manager); David Courteix (Coach); Eric Lombarteix (Coach); Philippe Borde (Doctor); Thomas Pomies (Physiotherapist)); Anthony Couderc (Fitness trainer); Germain Igarza (Video analyst)

The final selection has proved difficult for coach David Courteix. “The challenge was to find the balance between players and compared to our opponents and the requirements of the finals,” he said. “We hesitated a lot but in the end must make a final choice."

Much of the squad is as expected, though this actual 12 has not been selected together before. The return to fitness of Ladagnous (who suffered what had looked a Games-threatening injury in Clermont) will have been a real bonus for Courtiex, and probably resulted in Tremouliere being dropped into the reserve (although she still goes to Rio).

Even so there have clearly been some tough decisions, with several of those selected making comments similar to that of Amiel - “a mixture of feelings between the joy of being part of the privileged group and the sadness of seeing my friends deprived of this chance”.

Players who have made regular WSWS appearances but will not be going to Rio include Fourcade, Gueucier, Pelle and Lissar but – although she travels - the biggest surprise must be that Le Duff will only be a reserve, having been such a central figure for France for the past two years. In the end Courtiex seems to have favoured his younger sevens “specialists”, such as Biscarrat and Guerin.

The squad and Great Britain will meet for one more joint three-day camp before travelling to Rio.

Japan

Japan’s 14-player squad for Rio, including two travelling reserves, is: Yuka Kanematsu (Nagoya Ladies), Aya Takeuchi (Arukas Queen Kumagaya), Chiharu Nakamura (Arukas Queen Kumagaya, Captain), Keiko Kato (Setagaya Ladies), Ano Kuwai (Arukas Queen Kumagaya), Marie Yamaguchi (Rugirl-7), Makiko Tomita (Setagaya Ladies), Chisato Yokoo (Tokyo Phoenix RC), Noriko Taniguchi (Arukas Queen Kumagaya), Ai Nakamaru (Arukas Queen Kumagaya), Yume Ohkuroda (Arukas Queen Kumagaya), Mio Yamanaka (Arukas Queen Kumagaya), Mifuyu Koide (Arukas Queen Kumagaya)

The squad includes nine players from the final round in Clermont, with Kanematsu, Ohkuroda and Koide returning to the squad having not appeared since Sao Paulo or Dubai. The most notable absences are Ayaka Suzuki, who was something of a regular throughout most of the season, and the massive presence of Mateitoga Bogidraumaindave.

Although unlikely to be in contention for medals, the tournament will be vital for Japan as they will be playing against Brazil, Kenya and Colombia for a place in next year’s World Series. Whoever is ranked highest of the four in Rio qualifies for the 11th core place.