Rugby Union: France Six Nations squad for Scotland
New France coach Marc Lievremont named six uncapped players in his first squad to take on Scotland in the Six Nations opener
MARCOUSSIS, France, January 22, 2008 - New France coach Marc Lievremont
on Tuesday named six uncapped players in his first squad to take on Scotland
in the Six Nations opener in Edinburgh on February 3.
Props Julien Brugnault of Dax and Lionel Faure of Sale were called up along
with Albi lock Arnaud Mela, Bourgoin scrum-half Morgan Parra, Montpellier
fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc and Clermont centre Julien Malzieu.
"In some ways it's a new beginning. We took a good look around and we saw
players who deserved to be involved but who had been somewhat overlooked in
the recent times," Lievremont said.
In harness with assistant Emile Ntamack, Lievremont was a shock choice to
take over as coach from Bernard Laporte after France fell to England in the
semi-finals of the World Cup in Paris October.
Since then several stalwarts of French rugby over the last decade - Raphael
Ibanez, Fabien Pelous, Christophe Dominici and Serge Betsen - have all
announced their retirements from international rugby.
Despite the World Cup flop, Lievremont's 22-strong squad has 11 players who
were on duty for Laporte and several others such as William Servat, Elvis
Vermeulen and Florian Fritz who return to international duty.
The new coach, however, had to do without star utility back Frederic
Michalak who has taken a year off from international duty to play Super-14
rugby in South Africa and he has ommitted Sale strongman Sebastien Chabal, one
of the star turns for France in the World Cup.
"He's a charming chap, but for us Vermeulen is the best we have at this
position," he said of the back-row player.
Lievremont had already announced that Castres lock Lionel Nallet would be
the new France captain taking over from the retired Ibanez.
Later, Albi lock Mela said of his selection: "I am very happy, but also
surprised because I had heard my name had been announced but I just didn't
think I would really be picked.
"I'll try my best to give my maximum to show that I deserved such an
Forwards: Julien Brugnault (Dax), Lionel Faure (Sale/ENG), Jean-Baptiste
Poux (Toulouse), Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Français), William Servat
(Toulouse), Loic Jacquet (Clermont), Lionel Nallet (Castres, capt), Arnaud
Mela (Albi), Elvis Vermeulen (Clermont), Julien Bonnaire (Clermont), Thierry
Dusautoir (Toulouse), Fulgence Ouedraogo (Montpellier)
Backs: Morgan Parra (Bourgoin), Jean-Baptiste Elissalde (Toulouse), David
Skrela (Stade Français), Francois Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Florian Fritz
(Toulouse), Damien Traille (Biarritz), Vincent Clerc (Toulouse), Cedric
Heymans (Toulouse), Julien Malzieu (Clermont), Aurelien Rougerie (Clermont)