Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Plisson earns Six Nations place

Frederic Michalak has been omitted from France's squad for the 2014 RBS 6 Nations.
Frederic Michalak has been omitted from France's squad for the 2014 RBS 6 Nations.

Uncapped fly-half Jules Plisson has dislodged experienced playmakers Francois Trinh-Duc and Frederic Michalak from France's RBS 6 Nations squad.

The 22-year-old outside-half is one of three developing Stade Francais stars to muscle into Phillipe Saint-Andre's squad for next month's European tournament.

Flanker Antoine Burban and full-back Hugo Bonneval join team-mate Plisson in Saint Andre's line-up, while Castres full-back Geoffrey Palis in included for the first time.

Stade's resurgence is underscored by their climb to second in the Top 14 rankings, with Plisson holding his own alongside decorated Springbok fly-half and team-mate Morne Steyn.

With Camille Lopez missing through injury, Saint-Andre has chosen to promote Plisson ahead of both Toulon's Michalak and Montpellier's Trinh-Duc.

"There were talks over Jules Plisson and Francois again this morning," Saint-Andre told the French Rugby Federation's website.

"Francois is making a massive effort and he's almost there, but Jules Plisson is currently putting in some high-quality performances.

"We've picked the most in-form and confident players of the moment.

"Frederic was the starter in last year's Six Nations and he played exceptionally in the November 2012 Tests.

"But he got injured and is currently lacking game time. He needs more time."

Burban slots in for the injured Racing Metro loose-forward Wenceslas Lauret, with Toulouse talisman Louis Picamoles also back among the reckoning in a settled forward pack.

Racing scrum-half Maxime Machenaud is fit in time to win selection, while Toulon's Mathieu Bastareaud replaces Florian Fritz, unavailable after suffering injuries in a motorbike accident.

Saint-Andre will take his 30-strong squad into a training camp on January 19 in Canet-en-Rousillon.

France kick off their Six Nations charge by hosting England at Stade de France on February 1.

France squad: T Domingo (Clermont), Y Forestier (Castres), B Kayser (Clermont), D Szarzewski (Racing-Metro), N Mas (Montpellier), R Slimani, A Flanquart (both Stade Francais), Y Maestri (Toulouse), P Pape (Stade Francais), S Vahaamahina (Perpignan), A Burban (Stade Francais), T Dusautoir (Toulouse, capt), B Le Roux (Racing-Metro), Y Nyanga (Toulouse), D Chouly (Clermont), L Picamoles, J-M Doussain (both Toulouse), M Machenaud (Racing-Metro), J Plisson (Stade Francais), R Tales (Castres), M Bastareaud (Toulon), G Fickou (Toulouse), W Fofana (Clermont), M Mermoz (Toulon), S Guitoune (Perpignan), Y Huget, M Medard (both Toulouse), G Palis (Castres), H Bonneval (Stade Francais), B Dulin (Castres).

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