France coach opts for youth in Australia tour squad
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Combining necessity with World Cup planning, France coach Fabien Galthie opted for youth on Sunday as he filled out his 42-man squad for a three-Test July series in Australia.
Galthie had to wait until after the Top 14 play-off semifinals to compete his selection.
The squad leaves France on Monday and French rugby authorities decided that quarantine rules means it would not be practical for players from the Top 14 finalists, Toulouse and La Rochelle, to fly out later.
Announcing Galthie’s additional picks on Sunday, the French Rugby Federation also pointed to “the numerous injuries that marked this particular season.”
Damian Penaud, Teddy Thomas and Romain Taofifenua are the only players in the 42 with more than 20 international caps.
But the squad heads to the southern hemisphere for Tests on July 7 in Sydney, July 13 in Melbourne and July 17 in Brisbane with an eye on the World Cup in France in 2023.
The squad contains a strong representation from the France teams that have won the last two Under-20 world titles, in 2018 and 2019, with the Paris second row, Pierre-Henri Azagoh, his counterpart from Racing, Ibrahim Diallo, and Florent Vanverberghe.
In total, there are 23 uncapped players including Perpignan fullback Melvyn Jaminet, who was never played above Pro D2, and Pau scrumhalf Clovis Le Bail who is called up at the age of 26.
Forwards: Jean-Baptiste Gros (Toulon), Enzo Forletta (Montpellier), Quentin Walcker (Perpignan), Demba Bamba (Lyon), Wilfrid Hounkpatin (Castres), Sipili Falatea (Clermont), Gaetan Barlot (Castres), Etienne Fourcade (Clermont), Anthony Etrillard (Toulon), Killian Geraci (Lyon), Romain Taofifenua (Toulon), Baptiste Pesenti (Pau), Florent Vanverberghe (Castres), Pierre-Henry Azagoh (Stade Francais), Cyril Cazeaux (Bordeaux-Begles), Dylan Cretin (Lyon), Ibrahim Diallo (Racing 92), Alexandre Becognee (Montpellier), Alexandre Fischer (Clermont), Anthony Jelonch (Castres), Sekou Macalou (Stade Francais), Cameron Woki (Bordeaux-Begles), Patrick Sobela (Lyon).
Backs: Baptiste Couilloud (Lyon), Clovis Le Bail (Pau), Teddy Iribaren (Racing), Louis Carbonel (Toulon), Antoine Hastoy (Pau), Joris Segonds (Stade Francais), Jonathan Danty (Stade Francais), Tani Vili (Clermont), Arthur Vincent (Montpellier), Julien Heriteau (Toulon), Pierre-Louis Barassi (Lyon), Gabin Villiere (Toulon), Alivereti Raka (Clermont), Damian Penaud (Clermont), Teddy Thomas (Racing 92), Romain Buros (Bordeaux-Begles), Anthony Bouthier (Montpellier), Gervais Cordin (Toulon), Melvyn Jaminet (Perpignan).