Rugby

Pape to stay as French captain

2013-01-10 15:15
Pascal Pape (AFP)

Paris - Lock Pascal Pape will stay as captain of France for the Six Nations tournament despite the return to the squad of Thierry Dusautoir, L'Equipe newspaper reported on Thursday.

The Stade Francais forward, capped 45 times for his country, was handed the role for France's November Test matches after Dusautoir was rested to fully recover from injuries.

The French won all three games under his captaincy against Australia, Argentina and Samoa and that was enough to convince coach Philippe Saint-Andre to stick with Pape despite the return of Dusautoir, the sports daily said.

Dusautoir has captained France 31 times in 54 appearances most notably at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand where France reached the final and Dusautoir was named international player of the year.

Asked to comment on the report ahead of naming a 33-strong squad for the Six Nations on Friday, Saint-Andre would only say that he enjoyed "an embarrassment of riches" when it came to naming a captain.

"The list of 33 will be announced on Friday along with the captain," he said.

"There have been rumours circulating. Some (L'Equipe) see fit to run two pages without a single comment from Pascal Pape or Thierry Dusautoir or from the French coaching staff.

"There is a lot of talk about that, but what interests me is the men themselves and the way they perform when playing. We want to continue on from the November Tests and to get off to a good start in the tournament with a dangerous trip to Italy."

France open their Six Nations campaign on February 3 against Italy in Rome.

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