Rugby: Trinh-Duc left out of French squad

Francois Trinh-Duc was left out of the French squad to tour New Zealand. Photo / Richard Robinson
Francois Trinh-Duc was left out of the French squad to tour New Zealand. Photo / Richard Robinson

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre left out experienced first-five Francois Trinh-Duc and selected eight newcomers for next month's tour of New Zealand.

The decision seems somewhat odd since Saint-Andre will take three No. 10s to New Zealand, with new faces Camille Lopez and Remi Cales selected along with veteran Frederic Michalak, who dislocated his shoulder two months ago playing against Scotland in the Six Nations.

Trinh-Duc, who has 48 caps, was used fleetingly by Saint-Andre during the Six Nations. He was surprisingly taken off early in the second half of the game against England even though he had been arguably France's best player at Twickenham. The number 10 has been in good form for Montpellier in recent weeks.

An integral part of France's Grand-Slam winning team in 2010, Trinh-Duc was unexpectedly dropped by former coach Marc Lievremont during the 2011 World Cup, but made an immediate impact when he came on for the injured Morgan Parra during the final.

The six other uncapped players in the 35-man squad are props Eddy Ben Arous and Daniel Kotze, lock Alexandre Flanquart, backrower Bernard Le Roux, winger Adrien Plante and fullback Noa Nakaitaci.

The series begins in Auckland on June 8, followed by tests on successive Saturdays in Hamilton and New Plymouth. Flanker Thierry Dusautoir captains the squad.

France finished last for the first time since the Six Nations was formed 13 years ago, despite coming into European rugby's top tournament with impressive test wins against Australia and Argentina late last year.

Despite his team's poor showing in the Six Nations, Saint-Andre has been given breathing space to prepare for the 2015 World Cup and the New Zealand tour will offer him a chance to have a look at the potential of some young players.

France:

Forwards: Eddy Ben Arous, Vincent Debaty, Thomas Domingo, Guilhem Guirado, Benjamin Kayser, Dimitri Szarzewski, Luc Ducalcon, Daniel Kotze, Nicolas Mas, Alexandre Flanquart, Yoann Maestri, Christophe Samson, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Yannick Nyanga, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Thierry Dusautoir (captain), Bernard Le Roux, Antoine Claasen, Louis Picamoles.

Backs: Maxime Machenaud, Morgan Parra, Frederic Michalak, Camille Lopez, Remi Tales, Mathieu Bastareaud, Gael Fickou, Wesley Fofana, Florian Fritz, Maxime Mermoz, Maxime Medard, Noa Nakaitaci, Alexis Palisson, Adrien Plante, Brice Dulin, Yoann Huget.

- AP

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