Saint-André wants 12 players rested

Date published: February 10 2014

France coach Philippe Saint-André spent much of Monday on the phone, asking Top 14 coaches to rest certain players this weekend.

France coach Philippe Saint-André spent much of Monday on the phone, asking Top 14 coaches to rest certain French internationals this weekend.

Saint-André has drawn up a list of 12 players he hopes will not play in Round 19 of the Top 14 ahead of France's Six Nations clash with Wales the following Friday night.

The French staff want the players that “started both games” against England and Italy to be given time off.

The request is part of the agreement between the French Federation and League to give les Bleus greater access to players but comes a day after Toulouse president Jean-René Bouscatel referred to the agreement as “collusion” between “hypocrites and buffoons.”

The list includes four players from Toulouse (Yannick Nyanga, Louis Picamoles, Jean-Marc Doussain and Yoann Huget), two from Stade Français (Pascal Papé and Jules Plisson), two from Clermont (Thomas Domingo and Wesley Fofana), Montpellier's Nicolas Mas, Toulon's Mathieu Bastareaud and Brice Dulin of Castres.

“We're talking between gentlemen. But we do not yet have a gentleman's agreement, ” said Saint-André who, according to French reports, was unable to reach the Toulouse coaching staff.

“Stade Français play in Brive on Saturday night, unless we find a private plane or helicopter, those players will only reach us on Sunday. Those who played will be rested on Monday and Tuesday. As we leave for Cardiff on Wednesday, they will only have one session with us to prepare for this decisive match.”

Saint-André named his 30-man squad on Monday, recalling Rémi Talès at the expense of François Trinh-Duc.

“Rémi was the starter at fly-half for the November Tests and he had two weeks of preparation for us (before the injury),” said coach Philippe Saint-André,

“All the signs are good. He is back in training and he should be playing for Castres this weekend.

“It is not anything against Trinh-Duc, it's just logical in the way we are doing things.”

France have two wins under their belt, having defeated England 26-24 in the opener last weekend and a win in Cardiff would set them up nicely for a tilt at another Grand Slam after finishing with the Wooden Spoon last year.

Also called up into the preparation squad is Clermont back rower Alexandre Lapandry, who won his last cap against Argentina in June, 2012.

“We wanted a running-scrapper back row player and he fits the bill. He knows the ropes and has already been capped,” said Saint-André.

But there was no recall for talented scrum-half Morgan Parra, who proved he is back to his best after a long injury layoff by scoring all 25 points for Clermont in the Top-14 clash with Stade Francais on Saturday.

“We are happy that Morgan Parra is back in his top form and is scoring points. We have him in reserve. But when you start with a group and with scrum-halves who have produced quality games, we are not going to change a winning combination.”