Paris - France coach Philippe Saint-Andre said on Tuesday he had favoured
experience as he named Montpellier flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc and
Toulon veteran Frederic Michalak in his 36-man squad for the Rugby World Cup.
Trinh-Duc, 28, and Michalak, 32, were given the nod ahead of Clermont
flyhalf Camille Lopez, 26, for the September 18 to October 31
tournament in England.
"We really chose experience," said Saint-Andre, whose side bid to
overturn a record of just 15 wins for two draws and 20 defeats in the
past three years.
"Both in terms of Francois Trinh-Duc, who has returned to form for
his club and knows a World Cup (2011) as Remi Tales, who knows our
systems well and the France team," the France coach continued.
"And as Sebastien Tillous-Borde (scrumhalf) is not a kicker, we needed a flyhalf with a lot of guarantees of scoring.
"Frederic Michalak has a 90 percent success for France. He had a
complicated and difficult season but he knows the World Cup experience.
He has made two (2003 and 2007)," he added.
Trinh-Duc, capped 49 times, returned in March after five months out
with a fractured leg, while 71-times capped Michalak is recovering from a
Lopez, capped nine times, had been Saint-Andre's first choice
flyhalf since November, playing three Tests in November and the first
four of France's disappointing Six Nations campaign before picking up a
"I prefer that we talk about those who are here," said Saint-Andre.
"Camille remains in a list of 50 players, he was injured and a little in
difficulty on the pitch. He needs to rediscover all his serenity on the
pitch and his physical form."
Saint-Andre, who moves aside as coach after the World Cup, added: "Michalak presents enormous guarantees as a kicker."
Castres' Tales is the third flyhalf in the group but the coach
insisted that Stade Francais' Jules Plisson, recovering from a shoulder
injury, will train with the group with a decision set for early August.
Another surprise inclusion was Montpellier flank Fulgence Ouedraogo
while notable absentees included Toulouse's Maxime Medard, Racing
Metro's Teddy Thomas and Maxime Machenaud, along with Toulon trio Maxime
Mermoz, Alexandre Menini and Romain Taofifenua.
Ouedraogo and Clermont's Sebastien Vahaamahina, who have not featured
since the tour of Australia in June 2014, were given their chance to
Toulon prop Xavier Chiocci, absent from the Six Nations, has also won
a place thanks to his recent strong club form, as Toulouse flank
Louis Picamoles was named after two years of injury and poor form.
The scrumhalf line-up remains unchanged from the Six Nations with
Rory Kockott, Tillous-Borde and Morgan Parra getting the nod, as Racing
Metro's Machenaud failed to topple the hierarchy.
But Toulouse's fullback and wing Medard, 28, with 41 caps and a key
member of the squad for the 2011 World Cup, failed to convince the
coaching staff this time round.
Mermoz, who had a sometimes conflictual relationship with the staff,
also fails to feature, despite lining out in their last match in
The 36 players will gather at the National Rugby Centre outside Paris
from July 6 before training camps at Tignes in the French Alps, the
Pyrenees, as well as Twickenham.
The group will be reduced to 31 by August 23 the day after a second friendly against England.
France Rugby World Cup squad:
Uini Atonio (La Rochelle), Eddy Ben Arous (Racing-Metro), Xavier Chiocci (Toulon), Vincent Debaty (Clermont), Nicolas Mas (Montpellier), Rabah Slimani (Stade Francais), Guilhem Guirado (Toulon), Benjamin Kayser (Clermont), Dimitri Szarzewski (Racing-Metro), Alexandre Flanquart (Stade Francais), Yoann Maestri (Toulouse), Pascal Pap (Stade Francais), Sebastien Vahaamahina (Clermont), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse), Bernard le Roux (Racing-Metro), Yannick Nyanga (Toulouse), Fulgence Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Damien Chouly (Clermont), Loann Goujon (La Rochelle), Louis Picamoles (Toulouse)
Rory Kockott (Castres), Morgan Parra (Clermont), Sebastien Tillous-Borde (Toulon), Frederic Michalak (Toulon), Remi Tales (Castres), Francois Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Mathieu Bastareaud (Toulon), Alexandre Dumoulin (Racing-Metro), Gael Fickou (Toulouse), Wesley Fofana (Clermont), Remi Lamerat (Castres), Brice Dulin (Racing-Metro), Sofiane Guitoune (Bordeaux-Begles), Yoann Huget (Toulouse), Noa Nakaitaci (Clermont), Scott Spedding (Bayonne)