Injuries hit France

Injuries to key players have forced France coach Bernard Laporte to reshuffle his 22-man squad for the first RBS 6 Nations match against Scotland on February 5.

Injuries to key players have forced France coach Bernard Laporte to reshuffle his 22-man squad for the first RBS 6 Nations match against Scotland on February 5.

Flankers Olivier Magne (foot) and Serge Betsen (thigh) are the most notable omissions for the defending champions but classy fly-half Frederic Michalak (ankle) is included.

Michalak is expected to be partnered in the halves by Damien Traille, who has worn the number 10 shirt in his last two club matches for Biarritz.

The injuries to Magne and Betsen mean an international recall for Sale’s Sebastien Chabal, whose last appearance for Les Bleus was in the 2003 World Cup in Australia.

Today’s announcement was a case of double celebration for the Cheshire club and their French director of rugby Philippe Saint-Andre.

Hooker Sebastien Bruno is in line for his fourth cap after retaining his place following strong performances against Australia and New Zealand last year and for Sale.

France national team manager Jo Maso said the squad was chosen on form and availability.

“The tournament is very important to us,” said Maso.

“This is the best European tournament and therefore we decided to choose the most in-form players of the moment.”

France squad for opening RBS 6 Nations game against Scotland on February 5:

Forwards: P de Villiers, S Marconnet, O Milloud, W Servat, S Bruno, F Pelous, J Thion, G Lamboley, I Harinordoquy, J Bonnaire, S Chabal, Y Nyanga

Backs: D Yachvili, P Mignoni, F Michalak, Y Delaigue, D Traille, B Liebenberg, L Valbon, A Rougerie, C Dominici, P Elhorga.

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