Sebastien Chabal has been omitted from France’s provisional 32-man squad for the World Cup in September.
The 33-year-old number eight was recently suspended for a fortnight after claiming that referees in the domestic Top 14 competition are biased towards Castres and Biarritz, and was also one of the six players dropped by France coach Marc Lievremont after the embarrassing RBS 6 Nations defeat to Italy earlier this year.
Former Sale man Chabal is expected to learn his fate over his referee remarks in the next 24 hours, but now looks set to miss out on the sport’s showpiece event in New Zealand later this year.
Toulouse centre Yannick Jauzion, another dropped after the Italy upset, has also been left out.
Full-back Clement Poitrenaud, who has featured at centre for Toulouse for much of the season, is another to miss out on a place in the 32-man panel.
Lievremont and his back-room staff have included three players who are currently injured, in the hope that they may have recovered in time for the tournament. Clermont Auvergne captain Aurelien Rougerie, who suffered a serious ankle injury at the weekend and is set to be sidelined for three to four months, makes the squad of 32 as does club team-mate Thomas Domingo, who has a knee injury.
Fabien Barcella (Achilles) is the other player on whom Lievremont is prepared to gamble.
Biarritz flanker Raphael Lafakia is the only uncapped player in the squad.
Maxime Mermoz and Dimitri Szarzewski are also included as they continue to recover from long-standing shoulder and Achilles problems respectively.
Lievremont must decide on his final squad of 30 by August 22.
Provisional France squad for the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand:
Forwards: F Barcella (Biarritz); T Domingo (Clermont Auvergne), L Ducalcon (Castres), N Mas (Perpignan), S Marconnet (Stade Francais), J-B Poux (Toulouse), W Servat (Toulouse), D Szarzewski (Stade Francais), L Nallet (Racing Metro), J Pierre (Clermont Auvergne), R Millo-Chluski (Toulouse), P Pape (Stade Francais), J Bonnaire (Clermont Auvergne), T Dusautoir (Toulouse, capt), I Harinordoquy (Biarritz), R Lakafia (Biarritz), F Ouedraogo (Montpellier), L Picamoles (Toulouse).
Backs: M Parra (Clermont Auvergne), D Yachvili (Biarritz), F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), D Skrela (Toulouse), F Estebanez (Brive), D Marty (Perpignan), M Mermoz (Perpignan), A Rougerie (Clermont Auvergne), D Traille (Biarritz), V Clerc (Toulouse), C Heymans (Toulouse), Y Huget (Bayonne), M Medard (Toulouse), A Palisson (Brive).