It has been revealed by France coach Philippe Saint-André that he plans to call-up ten foreign players as soon as they become available for French citizenship.
Saint-André has announced a 74-man squad including ten foreign players who are currently plying their trade in the Top 14.
The list of ten Top 14 players included the likes of European Player of the Year Steffon Armitage and South African scrum-half Rory Kockott.
Saint-André described the group as ‘potentially selectable’ before going on to say;
“Eventually they will declare their love for France. But I can tell you that the ten players are very much in love with France,” said Saint-André at a press conference.
Saint-André also confirmed that three of the ten are currently unavailable for selection as they do not hold French passports but are however in the process of acquiring them. (The three being Armitage, Montpellier forward Alex Tulou and Bordeaux Bègles star Blair Connor.)
The committee in charge of monitoring the 74 players includes Serge Blanco, the newly-appointed FFR vice-president, along with Jean-Claude Skrela, Didier Retière, Philippe Agostini and Gérald Bastide.
“The goal is not to police Philippe and his assistants,” said Blanco.
“I’m not here to pick the French team, to choose the players, I’m here to bring a vision, a little oil to some cogs for this team to reach it’s full capability.”
Given France’s dismal record in recent years it seems inevitable that Saint-André will look to call-up as many of the 10 players listed as possible in a bid to reverse his sides decline.
France’s 30-man squad: Mas, Slimani, Kayser, Szarzewski, Guirado, Domingo, Debaty, Flanquart, Maestri, Papé, Vahaamahina, Dusautoir, Burban, Le Roux, Nyanga, Ouedraogo, Chouly, Claassen, Picamoles, Machenaud, Parra, Michalak, Tales, Trinh-Duc, Médard, Huget, Bastareaud, Fofana, Lamerat, Dulin.
30 additional players: Ducalcon, Tolofua, Orioli, Ben Arous, Chiocci, Menini, Tichit, Le Devedec, Suta, R. Taofifenua, Bruni, Camara, Lapandry, Lauret, Galan, Ollivon, Doussain, Pélissié, Tillous-Borde, Lopez, Plisson, Fall, Guitoune, Thomas, Fickou, Fritz, Mermoz, Buttin, Germain, Palis.
The 10 potentially selectable foreigners: Uini Atonio (La Rochelle), François van der Merwe (Racing Métro), Steffon Armitage (Toulon), Alex Tulou (Montpellier), Rory Kockott (Castres), Brock James (Clermont), Blair Connor (Bordeaux Bègles), Noa Nakaitaci (Clermont), David Smith (Toulon), Scott Spedding (Brive).
Do you think it’s right France plan to call-up so many foreign players?