Thomas pays huge penalty for being late

Philippe Saint-Andre: Rules there everyone should respect

Rising star Teddy Thomas has been dropped for tomorrow’s Test against Argentina by France manager Philippe Saint-Andre for missing a training session by arriving two hours late.

Thomas made a stunning debut against Fiji, becoming only the second Frenchman to score a hat-trick of tries on his first appearance for Les Bleus.

The 21-year-old earned a third straight call-up on Wednesday for the Test against the Pumas in Stade de France after also scoring a try against Australia.

But the young Racing-Metro player failed to attend training that evening along with the squad at the French national training centre at Marcoussis, outside Paris. And Saint-Andre and his deputies Yannick Bru and Patrice Lagisquet decided to drop Thomas and called in Maxime Medard, 28.

“In the France group there are rules that everyone should respect,” explained Saint-Andre. “I had a meeting yesterday with Teddy and he understands. I’m sure it will make him grow up.”

Thomas later took to his Facebook page to apologise. “The rules of the France group shouldn’t be broken and I want to offer my sincerest apologies to the staff and the France team, to my team-mates, to all the Bleus fans and our sport,” Thomas said.

Meanwhile New Zealand coach Steve Hansen believes that captain marvel Richie McCaw is “probably our greatest rugby player ever”.

McCaw will become the first rugby union player to captain his country in 100 Tests when New Zealand face Wales at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow.

“We are all very proud,” said Hansen. “He is a straight up and down bloke, who’s probably our greatest rugby player ever. It’s nice to be here to share that moment with him. But he will be the first to tell you this game is not about him, but about the team playing well enough to walk off the park and be very proud of our performance in getting the win.

“I saw him play in a school game in a tournament in Christchurch. He was about 17. Richie’s not a natural athlete. When he first arrived he had four feet and couldn’t catch a cold. But what he did have was a massive capacity to learn.

“He was very, very good over the ball. You could run him over with a tractor and he would still get up and have another go, so there is courage there.

“But the thing that has made him the great player he is, outside of his mental strength which is phenomenal, is his ability to want to get better.

“And even now, with 136 Tests, he wants to get better. That is phenomenal for an athlete who has been around as long as he has. He has evolved his game over time, and that is why he’s probably, if not the greatest player, then one of them.”

NEW ZEALAND: B Smith, C Piutau, C Smith, S Williams, J Savea, B Barrett, A Smith, K Read, R McCaw, J Kaino, S Whitelock, B Retallick, O Franks, D Coles, W Crockett.

Replacements: K Mealamu, J Moody, C Faumuina, P Tuipulotu, L Messam, TJ Perenara, C Slade, R Crotty.

SCOTLAND (v. Tonga at Kilmarnock): S Hogg; T Seymour, S Lamont, A Dunbar, T Visser, F ~Russell, G Laidlaw, capt; A Dickinson, R Ford, G Cross, R Gray, J Gray, R Harley, B Cowan, J Beattie.

Replacements: F Brown, G Reid, R Grant, K Low, A Strokosch, C Cusiter, D Weir, D Taylor.

FRANCE (v Argentina): S Spedding; Y Huget, M Mermoz, W Fofana, M Medard; C Lopez, S Tillous-Borde; D Chouly, B Le Roux T Dusautoir (capt); S Vahaamahina, P Pape; N Mas, B Kayser, X Chiocci

Replacements: G Guirado, A Menini, U Atonio, A Flanquart, Y Maestri, Y Nyanga, C Ollivon, R Kockott, R Tales, M Bastareaud, B Fall


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