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French Rugby Federation left red-faced after ineligible player called up

Published 21/02/2016

France head coach Guy Noves called David Smith into his squad to face Wales, only for it to later emerge he is not eligible to play for the country
France head coach Guy Noves called David Smith into his squad to face Wales, only for it to later emerge he is not eligible to play for the country

France have been forced to pull late call-up David Smith out of their plans for Friday's RBS 6 Nations clash with Wales after discovering he did not qualify to play for Les Bleus.

The embarrassment for the French Rugby Federation emerged just hours after Samoa-born wing Smith was brought in to bolster injured-depleted ranks.

After Marvin O'Connor and Teddy Thomas were ruled out of France's plans by problems sustained on club duty over the weekend, head coach Guy Noves summoned wings Djibril Camara and Smith.

But Castres player Smith informed French officials he had previously played for New Zealand at the 2008 Edinburgh Sevens, scuppering the prospect of a debut in Cardiff.

In a statement on its website, the FFR said it had a document dating from August 2014, which indicated that 29-year-old Smith "appeared eligible" for France, and he was duly called to the training camp at Marcoussis.

"On his arrival, David revealed to us he played in 2008 at Edinburgh in the international Sevens tournament for New Zealand," the FFR said.

"Because of this fact, David Smith isn't eligible for selection for the France XV according to international rules and will be released from the squad on Monday morning."

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