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BOPB's talismanic number 8 Imanol Harinordoquy
Billy Stickland
Harinordoquy Will Play
4 April 2010, 11:32 am
By The Editor
The word from Biarritz is that their talismanic number eight Imanol Harinordoquy will be in their starting line-up when they run out at the Anoeta Stadium on Sunday .
Harinordoquy, so influential not just for Biarritz but also for France in their RBS Six Nations Grand Slam, suffered a broken nose in the recent game against Clermont Auvergne and initially it was believed he would miss this game. However, although only having the plaster removed on Tuesday and amid suggestions that he would seek permission from ERC to wear a protective mask, he is now reported to be set to lead the side.

His absence would arguably have been felt more keenly than that of Damien Traille even though he did score three drop goals in the quarter final win over Ospreys. In Traille's absence, the midfield combination could see either Arnaud Mignardi or the ex-Wasps centre Ayoola Erinle paired in the centre with Karmichael Hunt who partnered Traille against Ospreys.

With Harinordoquy and in Traille's absence, it's to Dimitri Yachvilli that Biarritz may look to pull the backline strings and Ronan O'Gara makes no secret of his admiration for the scrum-half. "Yachvilli, Harinordoquy, Traille, that's the hub of their team. And yes he's (Traille) a big loss. But you look at who they can bring in. They're strong and their game plan is very direct. So obviously he'll be a loss."

"Yachvilli's a quality player. He's stayed loyal to Biarritz over the years even though I presume he had offers to move. But he's dug in there. He back there or thereabouts in the French team. He makes the game just so simple when he's on song. That's what quality players look like, they've endless time on the ball."

"He's one of those players who can torment you if he gets into his rhythm. So, yes he's a player I'd have a lot of admiration for."

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