Marc Lièvremont has named his 32-man squad that will go to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand later this year, and looks to be relying on fresh blood to bring the trophy home for France after he decided to leave out some of the most experienced players ever to represent France.
Sébastien Chabal, Yannick Jauzion and Clement Poitrenaud, a trio at the heart of every French side for the last decade, have been left behind, with the likes of 23-year-old loose forward Raphael Lakafia receiving their first call up to national duty.
France had a difficult 6 Nations tournament earlier this year, losing out to England in the race to be crowned Champions and suffering defeat at the hands of minnows Italy, and now Lièvremont has decided drastic changes are required.
He must now reduce his squad down to 30 by August 22 after extending the numbers to accommodate Thomas Domingo and Aurélien Rougerie as the look to recover from injury in time for the tournament.
There was room for one of the older generation however as Cédric Heymans was recalled after being dropped for the 6 Nations.
Lievremont has dismissed ideas that Chabal was dropped because of comments the former Sale man made about French referee’s following their ill-feted competition in February, and insisted it was based purely on sporting reasons.
“I assured Sébastien that he was only judged on sporting terms and that the controversy had nothing to do with my choice,” he said.
“The last six months summed up his season. But over the last year I’ve seen a the young Raphaël Lakafia progress and Louis Picamoles has huge potential.
“It was not an easy decision because Sébastien Chabal is important in our group. But I chose to go with younger players who have consistently progressed.” He added.
Hookers:William Servat (Toulouse), Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Français)
Props: Fabien Barcella (Biarritz), Thomas Domingo (Clermont), Jean-Baptiste Poux (Toulouse), , Luc Ducalcon (Castres), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Sylvain Marconnet (Biarritz)
Locks: Pascal Papé (Stade Français), Julien Pierre (Clermont), Romain Millo-Chluski (Toulouse), Lionel Nallet (Racing-Métro 92)
Loose forwards: Julien Bonnaire (Clermont), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse/Cap), Fulgence Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Raphaël Lakafia (Biarritz), Louis Picamoles (Toulouse)
Scrum-halves: Morgan Parra (Clermont), Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz)
Fly-halves: David Skrela (Toulouse), François Trinh-Duc (Montpellier)
Centres: Fabrice Estebanez (Brive), Maxime Mermoz (Perpignan), David Marty (Perpignan), Aurélien Rougerie (Clermont)
Wings/ full-backs: Maxime Médard (Toulouse), Alexis Palisson (Brive), Vincent Clerc (Toulouse), Yoann Huget (Bayonne), Cédric Heymans (Toulouse), Damien Traille (Biarritz)