France recall Clerc and drop Mermoz
February 11, 2013
Federic Michalak retains his place despite a tough few games for France © Getty Images
France have recalled winger Vincent Clerc to their squad ahead of their next Six Nations clash against England a week on Saturday.
The Toulouse winger missed France's opening Six Nations defeats to Italy and Wales with a thigh injury but he has been recalled to France's training squad along with Thomas Domingo, Christophe Samson and Yannick Nyanga. The uncapped Antoine Claassen is also included in the squad.
Following France's defeat to Wales at the weekend, head coach Philippe Saint-Andre has dropped Maxime Mermoz, Damien Chouly, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Yannick Forestier and Romain Taofifenua.
Mermoz started both games but failed to make an impact at inside centre. His omission could lead to Wesley Fofana moving back into the centres after being shifted on to the right wing for the defeats to Wales and Italy.
Ouedraogo also started both games but suffered a knock against Wales and is not included in Saint Andres' squad. That creates an opening for flanker Yannick Nyanga while South African-born flanker Claassen is also included.
After these defeats we've made five changes because it is necessary to freshen up the squad mentally and physically," Saint-Andre said.
"We want to get the team spirit back that we had in November. We won't give in, we will go to London with the will to do better. We want to make things up to our fans and to win this match. I'm sure we can do it."
Forwards: Vincent Debaty, Thomas Domingo, Benjamin Kayser, Dimitri Szarzewski, Luc Ducalcon, Nicolas Mas, Yoann Maestri, Pascal Pape, Christophe Samson, Yannick Nyanga, Thierry Dusautoir, Antoine Claassen, Louis Picamoles.
Backs: Maxime Machenaud, Morgan Parra, Frederic Michalak, François Trinh-Duc, Mathieu Bastareaud, Benjamin Fall, Wesley Fofana, Florian Fritz, Yoann Huget, Vincent Clerc.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The thirst for knowledge has seen coaches break away from the confines of rugby and look to America." Tom Hamilton on the two-way learning process
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside