Michalak named in France 2015 World cup squad

Frederic Michalak edged out the experienced fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc in
the France 2015 Rugby World Cup squad announced by coach Philippe Saint-Andre.

Twenty-eight-year-old Trinh-Duc played a major role in France’s 2011 World
Cup campaign where they ultimately lost 8-7 to New Zealand in the final.

Saint-Andre has named Michalak and Remi Tales as his two play makers for the
global event that kicks off next month.

Trinh-Duc, capped 50 times since being blooded by Marc Lievremont in 2008,
had found it difficult to impose himself under Saint-Andre and a serious injury
last season ruled him out of contention for this season’s Six Nations.

He was given a chance to prove himself worthy of a spot in the first game against
England a week ago — a 19-14 defeat at Twickenham — but evidently failed to
convince Saint-Andre and his coaching staff.

“It is a choice which has been made not only after seven weeks but also
after three years of life with the squad,” said Saint-Andre, who also cited
Trinh-Duc’s lack of accuracy at placekicking.

For Michalak, who will celebrate his 33rd birthday during the tournament, it
represents his third World Cup, having first made an impression at international
level during the 2003 edition in Australia

Despites concerns over his fitness and form, Saint-Andre has kept faith with
the 72-times capped playmaker.

In contrast to the fly-half position Saint-Andre has selected three scrum-halves,
in Morgan Parra — who was Lievremont’s favoured number nine alongside Tinh-Duc
for much of his reign — South Africa-born Rory Kockott and Michalak’s clubmate
Sebastien Tillous-Borde.

Both Parra and Kockott are adept placekickers.

The side will be captained, as it was in 2011, by 33-year-old flanker Thierry
Dusautoir, whose outstanding performances at the last tournament earned him
the world player of the year accolade.

Saint-Andre, who steps down after the World Cup, also cut prop Xavier Chiocci,
lock Sebastien Vahaamahina, backrow forward Yoann Goujon and centre Remi Lamerat.

France, who have one more warm-up match against Scotland on September 5 at
the Stade de France, open their campaign to try and secure the trophy for the
first time — they have lost three times in the final — against Italy on September
19 at Twickenham.

France will also play Six Nations champions Ireland, Romania and Canada in
the pool stage of the tournament that runs from September 18 to October 31.

France Rugby World Cup squad

Forwards (17): Uini Atonio (La Rochelle), Eddy Ben Arous (Racing
Metro), Vincent Debaty (Clermont), Nicolas Mas (Montpellier), Rabah Slimani
(Stade Francais), Guilhem Guirado (Toulon), Benjamin Kayser (Clermont),
Dimitri Szarzewski (Racing Metro), Alexandre Flanquart (Stade Francais),
Yoann Maestri (Toulouse), Pascal Pape (Stade Francais), Thierry Dusautoir
(Toulouse), Bernard Le Roux (Racing Metro), Yannick Nyanga (Toulouse), Fulgence
Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Damien Chouly (Clermont), Louis Picamoles (Toulouse)

Backs (14): Rory Kockott (Castres), Morgan Parra (Clermont),
Sebastien Tillous-Borde (Toulon), Frederic Michalak (Toulon),
Remi Tales (Racing Metro), Mathieu Bastareaud (Toulon), Alexandre Dumoulin
(Racing Metro), Gael Fickou (Toulouse), Wesley Fofana (Clermont), Brice
Dulin (Racing Metro), Sofiane Guitoune (Bordeaux-Begles), Yoann Huget (Toulouse),
Noa Nakaitaci (Clermont), Scott Spedding (Clermont)

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