France drop final Toulon players from squad
November 7, 2013
Enter the Autumn Internationals Fantasy Game © Scrum.com
France have clipped four backs from the squad to face the All Blacks in Paris on Saturday, shedding any connection to European club champions Toulon in the process.
Philippe Saint-Andre dropped scrum-half Jonathan Pelissie, centres Maxime Mermoz and Mathieu Bastareaud and uncapped outside back Sofiane Guitoun as he reduced his group from 30 to 26 players ahead of Saturday's game.
The culling of the midfielders meant the Top 14 leaders Toulon are not represented.
Saint-Andre has included seven players from Toulouse, including captain Thierry Dusautoir, while Stade Francais prop Rabah Slimani is the only uncapped player to be retained.
Several players who featured during France's 3-0 series loss in New Zealand in June have been ruled out by injury, notably No.8 Louis Picamoles, scrum-half Maxime Machenoud, prop Thomas Domingo, flanker Fulgence Ouedraogo and fly-half-come-scrum-half Frederic Michalak.
The team is named on Thursday.
France squad Backs: Yoann Huget, Brice Dulin, Maxime Medard, Florian Fritz, Wesley Fofana, Gael Fickou, Remi Tales, Camille Lopez, Morgan Parra, Jean-Marc Doussain.
Forwards: Antonie Claassen, Damien Chouly, Wenceslas Lauret, Yannick Nyanga, Bernard Le Roux, Thierry Dusautoir (capt), Sebastien Vahaamahina, Pascal Pape, Yoann Maestri, Alexandre Flanquart, Rabah Slimani, Nicolas Mas, Vincent Debaty, Yannick Forestier, Dimitri Szarzewski, Benjamin Kayser.
Follow live text commentary of the Test between France and New Zealand on Saturday, November 9 from 9am (NZDT), 7am (AEDT) and 8pm (GMT)
Alexandre Flanquart says France can beat the All Blacks
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship