French coach Bernard Laporte has shocked everyone by picking an experienced squad to play June’s one-off test against the Boks in Cape Town.
Laporte had initially indicated that he would rest many of the French senior players, but he confirmed a squad of 26 to play Romania and the Boks that includes just one new cap and plenty of experience.
And despite flyhalf Frederic Michalak’s plea to be rested, Laporte has chosen his number one flyhalf. Laporte told the French media had no other options because of injury.
Toulouse fullback Clement Poitrenaud and Biarritz number eight Imanol Harinordoquy, who have not played for France for two seasons, are included along with debutant prop from Castres David Attoub.
It is a strong squad, but French based rugby editor of L’quipe, Arnaud David told Keo.co.za that it was not the strongest possible French team.
David said Laporte may have opted for experience in the squad, but he was still resting several key players, including Yannik Nyanga, Lievremont, Elissalde, Rougerie and Milloud.
Forwards: Sylvain Marconnet (Stade Francais), Pieter De Villiers (Stade Francais), David Attoub (Castres), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Raphael Ibanez (Wasps/ENG), Dmitri Szarzewski (Stade Francais), Fabien Pelous (Toulouse, captain), Lionel Nallet (Castres), Jerome Thion (Biarritz), Serge Betsen (Biarritz), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz), Thierry Dusautoir (Biarritz), Remy Martin (Stade Francais), Julien Bonnaire (Bourgoin)
Dmitri Yachvili (Biarritz), Pierre Mignoni (Clermont), Frederic Michalak (Toulouse), Damien Traille (Biarritz), Yannick Jauzion (Toulouse), Florian Fritz (Toulouse), Christophe Dominici (Stade Francais), Cedric Heymans (Toulouse), Francois Clerc (Toulouse), Thomas Castaignede (Saracens/ENG), Clement Poitrenaud (Toulouse), Julien Laharrague (Perpignan)