Dusautoir missing from France squad

by RUGBY.com.au staff

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has left captain Thierry Dusautoir at home for Les Bleus' summer tour of Argentina next month in a host of changes announced on Thursday.

A total of nine players were called up to the France squad for the first time and could make their full debut during the June 16-23 tour, during which France will play the Pumas twice.

Among the nine are locks Antoine Guillamon (Lyon) and Yvan Watremez (Biarritz), hooker Christopher Tolofua (Toulouse), second-rower Christophe Samson (Toulon), flanker Romain Taofifenua (Perpignan), halfback Maxime Machenaud (Agen), centres Geoffrey Doumayrou (Montpellier) and Romain Martial (Castres) and winger Brice Dulin (Agen).

Dusautoir will be replaced by Stade Francais second-rower Pascal Pape although that decision was widely expected after hints from Saint-Andre.

Pape, 31, who has 40 caps, captained France during their tour to New Zealand in 2007.

Frederic Michalak, meanwhile, has been offered the chance for a 55th Test cap for France. The 29-year-old utility back, who plays his rugby for the Sharks in South Africa, won his last cap during the 2010 Six Nations.

France, who finished fourth in the last Six Nations, suffered a narrow defeat to New Zealand in the final of the World Cup last year. Some of that squad will not travel to Argentina as Saint-Andre goes about building the backbone of the squad he will take to England for the 2015 World Cup.

Lock Nicolas Mas, second-rower Julien Pierre and winger Vincent Clerc have been left behind while others, such as hooker William Servat, second-rower Lionel Nallet and flanker Julien Bonnaire have all retired from international rugby.

France are scheduled to play Argentina in Cordoba on June 16 and June 23 in Tucuman.

A warm-up match for the tournament is planned for June 6 in Biarritz, four days before they depart for Argentina, and will double as a testimony for former international Serge Betsen.

France Squad:

Forwards: David Attoub (Stade Francais), Vincent Debaty (Clermont), Antoine Guillamon (Lyon), Yvan Watremez (Biarritz), Christopher Tolofua (Toulouse), Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Francais), Yoann Maestri (Toulouse), Christophe Samson (Toulon), Pascal Pape (Stade Francais, capt), Romain Taofifenua (Perpignan), Alexandre Lapandry (Clermont), Wenceslas Lauret (Biarritz), Fulgence Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Louis Picamoles (Toulouse), Raphael Lakafia (Biarritz)

Backs: Maxime Machenaud (Agen), Morgan Parra (Clermont), Frederic Michalak (Sharks/RSA), Francois Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Geoffrey Doumayrou (Montpellier), Florian Fritz (Toulouse), Wesley Fofana (Clermont), Maxime Mermoz (Perpignan), Benjamin Fall (Racing-Metro), Romain Martial (Castres), Yoann Huget (Bayonne), Jean-Marcellin Buttin (Clermont), Brice Dulin (Agen)