No place for Castaignede in World Cup squad

14th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 14, 2007 (AFP) - Saracens back Thomas Castaignede was among a number of notable absentees Thursday as hosts France named their 30-man squad for the upcoming World Cup.

PARIS, June 14, 2007 (AFP) - Saracens back Thomas Castaignede was among a number of notable absentees Thursday as hosts France named their 30-man squad for the upcoming World Cup.

Stade Toulouse's Clement Poitrenaud, considered a true specialist in the position, was preferred to the 32-year-old Castaignede, who missed the World Cup in 2003 but had been an outside bet for the squad which was announced by France manager Jo Maso alongside team coach Bernard Laporte.

"It was a difficult decision to make leaving Thomas on the sidelines," said Maso, who based his decision on the performances of other players on the recent tests in New Zealand.

"But our decision wasn't based on his performances in New Zealand, it was based on the performances of other players."

Poitrenaud admitted the race had been tight.

"Fortune has smiled on me because in the end I was the only real back in contention. That allowed me to play all five matches in the Six Nations, and that was decisive for this selection," he said.

Another major absentee is Pascal Pape, who captained France during their recent Test defeats against the All Black.

Pape's place in the second row has been handed to Sale number eight Sebastien Chabal.

Laporte said the versatile Chabal was delighted with his selection.

"I spoke to him on the phone. We're taking him as a versatile number eight and second rower. He seems fired up by the possibility of playing second row."

As well as Castaignede and Pape, Toulouse centre Florian Fritz failed to make Laporte's squad.

Jean-Baptiste Poux of Toulouse has been handed the fourth spot at prop.

Another Jean-Baptiste - Elissalde - said he had been lucky to win selection ahead of Dimitri Yachvilli.

"It's a huge relief, and I'm delighted because it was always going to be tight between us three (Pierre Mignoni and Dimitri Yachvilli).

"I'm thinking of Dimitri today, and I know I've been given a great opportunity. I hope to do my selection justice."

France mainstay Fabien Pelous, who has 110 caps for France, will make his return after missing the last Six Nations tournament due to an ankle injury.

Toulouse fly half Frederic Michalak, whose 42nd and last France appearance was in the spring of 2006, has also been included in the squad alongside team-mate Vincent Clerc, who will take the fourth winger's post alongside Christophe Dominici, Cedric Heymans and Aurelien Rougerie.

Other notable absentees include Olivier Magne and prop Christian Califano, who between them have 160 caps.

Hosts France will soon begin a five-week period of preparation for the World Cup, which includes training camps at altitude at Val-d'Isere in the Alps (July 9-13) and at Font-Romeu in the Pyrenees (July 15-20).

They will then play three warm-up matches, against England on August 11 at Twickenham and a week later in Marseille, and against Wales on August 25 in Cardiff

Maso said the captaincy will go to either Fabien Pelous or Raphael Ibanez.

"We'll decide at the start of the World Cup who will be captain," he said.


Forwards (17): Sylvain Marconnet (Stade Français), Pieter De Villiers (Stade Francais), Olivier Milloud (Bourgoin), Jean-Baptiste Poux (Stade Toulousain), Raphael Ibanez (Wasps/ENG), Sebastien Bruno (Sale/ENG), Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Francais), Fabien Pelous (Stade Toulouse, cap.), Lionel Thion (Biarritz), Jerome Nallet (Castres), Sebastien Chabal (Sale/ENG), Julien Bonnaire (Bourgoin), Serge Betsen (Biarritz), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz), Remy Martin (Stade Francais), Elvis Vermeulen (Clermont), Yannick Nyanga (Stade Toulouse)

Backs (13): Pierre Mignoni (Clermont), Jean-Baptiste Elissalde (Stade Toulousain), Lionel Beauxis (Stade Francais), Frederic Michalak (Stade Toulouse/Sharks/RSA), Philippe Skrela (Stade Francais), Yannick Jauzion (Stade Toulouse), Damien Traille (Biarritz), David Marty (Perpignan), Christophe Dominici (Stade Francais), Aurelien Rougerie (Clermont), Cedric Heymans (Stade Toulouse), Vincent Clerc (Stade Toulouse), Clement Poitrenaud (Stade Toulouse)

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article