Experienced duo back in French squad

EXPERIENCED duo Thomas Castaignede and Serge Betsen have been drafted back into the France squad as coach Bernard Laporte looks toward their RBS Six Nations Championship match against Italy.

Laporte and team manager Jo Maso announced a 30-man squad yesterday which will be reduced to 22 next week for the February 25 game.

Neither flanker Betsen or utility back Castaignede played a part in France’s games against Scotland and Ireland because of thigh injuries but, after regaining fitness, they could now be in line to play in the Italy match.

Perpignan prop Nicolas Mas and Biarritz flanker Thierry Dusautoir have also been named in the squad but hooker Dimitri Szarzewski has not been considered after failing to shake off an Achilles problem.

France squad: Backs: JB Elissalde (Toulouse), D Yachvili (Biarritz), F Michalak (Toulouse), B Boyet (Bourgoin), D Traille (Biarritz), F Fritz (Toulouse), D Marty (Perpignan), L Valbon (Brive), C Heymans (Toulouse), C Dominici (Toulouse), A Rougerie (Clermont), N Brusque (Biarritz), T Castaignede (Saracens).

Forwards: S Bruno (Sale), R Ibanez (Wasps), S Marconnet (Stade Francais), P De Villiers (Stade Francais), O Milloud (Bourgoin), P Pape (Bourgoin), J Thion(Biarritz), F Pelous (Toulouse, captain), L Nallet (Castres), O Magne (London Irish), S Betsen (Biarritz), Y Nyanga (Toulouse), J Bonnaire (Bourgoin), R Martin (Stade Francais), T Lievremont (Biarritz), T Dusautoir (Biarritz), N Mas (Perpignan).

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