Guy Noves drops Bastareaud from his first France squad

New French coach says he aims to play ‘different form of rugby to recent years’

Mathieu Bastareaud  was a surprise absence from a list of 30 names to work with the new France coach. Photograph: James Crombie/INPHO

Mathieu Bastareaud was a surprise absence from a list of 30 names to work with the new France coach. Photograph: James Crombie/INPHO

 

New France coach Guy Noves has explained Mathieu Bastareaud’s absence from his first squad gathering by saying he aims to bring a new style to Les Bleus.

The powerhouse Toulon centre was a surprise absentee from a list of 30 names announced last week to work with Noves and his staff yesterday.

Speaking at that session, Noves said: “He is a player whose potential we know and this does not mean he has been completely discarded.

“Quite simply, and I say this humbly, we have the aim of playing a different form of rugby to recent years. Mathieu Bastareaud is also capable of adapting his game, though.”

It emerged when Bastareaud signed his new contract with Toulon last month that he has a clause allowing him to take a sabbatical in Japan in the coming years.

And Noves continued: “We prefer to work for the moment with players who are completely invested in the France team for the next four years.”

Bastareaud, 27, has won 39 caps since his debut against Wales in 2009, and has scored three tries.

Meanwhile, South Africa flanker Schalk Burger has agreed to join English Premiership champions Saracens on a two-year deal that expires in 2018.

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