Noves : Toulouse must come before Country

French rugby giants Toulouse Boss Guy Noves wants his players his players to focus on their club rugby before everything else as the season prepares to kick off.

The outspoken 59-year-old former international wing made his feelings public just five days ahead of their Top 14 showdown against Bordeaux-Begles.

“First of all, you have to perform for your club before thinking about anything else and the internationals have to play at their level,” he said.

“I hope there is a conscious effort towards the obligations that players need to have towards their club,” he continued.

The remarks appeared to be a veiled criticism of comments made last season about the mental attitude of his contingent of French internationals who played in the disappointing series of Test matches against New Zealand.

“I am expecting more from everyone but the internationals are the most concerned because they are the best players and must play at their level.”

Meanwhile, Toulouse said France international three-quarter Gael Fickou would miss the start of the season because of a thigh injury.

Fickou did not play in the club’s final pre-season friendly against Bayonne last Thursday, which they lost 10-0.

Toulouse are already without second row Bastien Chalureau, who pulled a right knee ligament and is likely to be out for at least two weeks.

Vasil Kakovin, Yohann Montes and Romain Millo-Chluski are all now available after injury.

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