Frederic Michalak edges out Francois Trinh-Duc in France squad

Toulon outhalf became France’s all-time record points scorer during win over England

Frederic Michalak in action for France against England at Stade de France. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Frederic Michalak in action for France against England at Stade de France. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

 

France coach Philippe Saint-André has omitted outhalf Francois Trinh-Duc from his 31-man World Cup squad in favour of Frederic Michalak.

Saint-Andre has also dropped Sébastien Vahaamahina, Xavier Chiocci, Loann Goujon and Remi Lamerat from his preliminary squad announced yesterday.

Lamerat of Castres was dropped in favour of Toulouse centre Gael Fickou and while the front trio of Vahaamahina, Chiocci and Goujon were not expected to make the cut, Trinh-Duc’s absence comes as a surprise.

“[It was a] difficult moment to see the five players leave the group,” Saint-André said.

Trinh-Duc is a casualty of the resurgence of Michalak, who became France’s all-time record points scorer during the 25-20 victory over England in Paris on Saturday.

Leader

Another rival for the outhalf role was Remi Tales, whose importance to the squad as an off-field leader is also a reason why Trinh-Duc has missed out.

France welcome Scotland to the Stade de France on September 5th in another pre-tournament warm-up match before they begin their World Cup campaign against Italy at Twickenham on September 19th.

France produced a dominant forward performance and withstood a late England fightback to secure victory on Saturday.

The French pack overpowered their opponents, who beat them 19-14 at Twickenham last week, to lead 15-6 at halftime.

Winger Yoann Huget scored a brilliant individual try early in the second half to give France breathing space but England regrouped to score late tries through Danny Cipriani and Jonathan Joseph and make the scoreline more respectable.

Carelessly

France struck after three minutes when fullback Scott Spedding converted a penalty given away carelessly by England centre Luther Burrell.

The home side extended their lead with four more penalties from Michalak.

The England pack could not get a foothold in the game, a succession of errors ensuring their team did not enjoy any possession in the France half.

England outhalf George Ford kicked two penalties to keep his team in touch and captain Chris Robshaw admitted his side had made too many errors to compete.

“In the first half we were shocking with our discipline,“ Robshaw said. “We gave too many penalties away, but give us credit in the second half we came out and played well.”

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