Frederic Michalak and François Trinh-Duc in France training squad
Philippe Saint-Andre opts for experience as the 2011 runners-up prepare for Rugby World Cup in September
France head coach Philippe Saint-Andre has gone with experience for his 36-man training squad ahead of the Rugby World Cup.
The 2011 finalists have included Frederic Michalak and François Trinh-Duc among 16 backs, but Clermont Auvergne outside-half Camille Lopez and Racing Metro winger Teddy Thomas, who both broke into the squad last autumn, have been omitted.
We have a young team especially at the backs, but with the post of fly-half we picked experience that can handle the pressure of the World Cup.
Outside-half/centre Trinh-Duc won the last of his 49 Les Bleus caps over a year ago, but recently returned with Top 14 side Montpellier after his serious leg break last October.
Toulon outside-half Frederic Michalak, who had 71 caps to his name, is also given the nod ahead of Lopez, who was Saint-Andre’s first-choice 10 during the RBS 6 Nations earlier this year.
“Some players will be disappointed,” Saint-Andre said on Tuesday.
“We decided to go for experience.
“We have a young team especially at the backs, but with the post of fly-half we picked experience that can handle the pressure of the World Cup.”
Also left out of the training squad are Maxime Machenaud, Maxime Medard, and Toulon trio Maxime Mermoz, Alexandre Menini and Romain Taofifenua, but there is a recall for Stade Français lock Pascal Pape, who was banned during the Six Nations for kneeing Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip in the back.
France will begin their preparations at the national training centre in Marcoussis on 6 July, but Saint-Andre has until 23 August to name his 31-man squad for the global showpiece in England, which comes after warm-up matches against England at Twickenham and the Stade de France.
Their final warm-up match will be against Scotland in Paris on 5 September, two weeks before their opening World Cup fixture against Italy at Twickenham.
France training squad (36):
Forwards (20): Eddy Ben Arous (Racing Metro), Vincent Debaty (Clermont Auvergne), Uini Atonio (La Rochelle), Xavier Chiocci (Toulon), Nicolas Mas (Montpellier), Rabah Slimani (Stade Français), Guilhem Guirado (Toulon), Benjamin Kayser (Clermont Auvergne), Dimitri Szarzewski (Racing Metro), Alexandre Flanquart (Stade Français), Yoann Maestri (Toulouse), Pascal Pape (Stade Français), Sebastien Vahaamahina (Clermont Auvergne), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse), Damien Chouly (Clermont Auvergne), Bernard Le Roux (Racing Metro), Yannick Nyanga (Toulouse), Louis Picamoles (Toulouse), Fulgence Ouedroago (Montpellier), Loann Goujon (La Rochelle).
Backs (16): Rory Kockott (Castres), Morgan Parra (Clermont Auvergne), Sebastien Tillous-Borde (Toulon), Remi Tales (Castres), Frederic Michalak (Toulon), François Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Mathieu Bastareaud (Toulon), Wesley Fofana (Clermont Auvergne), Remi Lamerat (Castres), Gaël Fickou (Toulouse), Alexandre Dumoulin (Racing Metro), Yoann Huget (Toulouse), Noa Nakaitaci (Clermont Auvergne), Sofiane Guitoune (Bordeaux-Begles), Brice Dulin (Racing Metro), Scott Spedding (Bayonne).