Rugby | French skipper rested for New Zealand tour

Paris – Captain and hooker Guilhem Guirado has been rested for France’s tour of New Zealand in June with barn-storming centre Mathieu Bastareaud likely to be handed the skipper’s armband for three Tests against the All Blacks.

Flanker Wenceslas Lauret is also rested, but centre Wesley Fofana makes his return after an injury-racked 18 months on the sidelines while there is also a place for Morgan Parra.

France play New Zealand on June 9 in Auckland, a week later in Wellington and then on June 23 in Dunedin.

“This tour of New Zealand against the All Blacks is a wonderful challenge that we are eager to meet,” said France coach Jacques Brunel.

“This is the ideal opportunity for us to make a final review of the squad and to see new players join the France squad before this pre-World Cup season begins.

“Certain players in this squad had that opportunity and seized it at the last tournament when we had to make several replacements, and are still with us.

“During this tour, others can mount comebacks or take their chance because the upcoming season will see the squad tighten up for the November internationals and the 2019 Six Nations in anticipation of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.”

A raft of players have been ruled out from touring, with Lionel Beauxis, Yacouba Camara, Baptiste Couilloud, Brice Dulin, Yoann Huget, Arthur Iturria, Paul Jedrasiak, Maxime Machenaud, Geoffrey Palis, Marco Tauleigne and Francois Trinh-Duc all on the injury list.

Others, including Louis Picamoles and Virimi Vakatawa, have scheduled operations and are also ruled out while Camille Lopez is still recovering from injury and Jefferson Poirot and Sebastien Vahaamahina are suspended.

France squad

Uini Atonio, Mathieu Babillot, Cyril Baille, Mathieu Bastareaud, Anthony Belleau, Eddy Ben Arous, Hugo Bonneval, Pierre Bougarit, Camille Chat, Geoffrey Doumayroum, Benjamin Fall, Gael Fickou, Wesley Fofana Paul Gabrillagues, Kelian Galletier, Cedate Gomes Sa, Kevin Gourdon, Remy Grosso, Felix Lambey, Remi Lamerat, Alexandre Lapandry, Bernard Le Roux, Yoann Maestri, Maxime Medard, Morgan Parra, Adrien Pelissie, Jules Plisson, Dany Priso, Fabien Sanconnie, Baptiste Serin, Rabah Slimani, Teddy Thomas

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