There’s One Huge Notable Absentee From France’s Six Nations Squad

French players form a huddle after the Rugby World Cup Pool D match between France and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015. Ireland won the match 24-9. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

New France coach Guy Noves has explained Mathieu Bastareaud’s absence from his first squad gathering by saying he aims to bring a new style to Les Bleus.

The powerhouse Toulon centre was a surprise absentee from a list of 30 names announced.

Noves told Midi Olympique: “He is a player whose potential we know and this does not mean he has been completely discarded.

“Quite simply, and I say this humbly, we have the aim of playing a different form of rugby to recent years. Mathieu Bastareaud is also capable of adapting his game, though.”

It emerged when Bastareaud signed his new contract with Toulon last month that he has a clause allowing him to take a sabbatical in Japan in the coming years.

And Noves continued: “We prefer to work for the moment with players who are completely invested in the France team for the next four years.”

Bastareaud, 27, has won 39 caps since his debut against Wales in 2009, and has scored three international tries.

France squad

Forwards (16): Uini Atonio, Eddy Ben Arous, Rabah Slimani, Jefferson Poirot, Benjamin Kayser, Yacouba Camara, Damien Chouly, Alexandre Flanquart, Loann Goujon, Guilhem Guirado, Paul Jedrasiak, Wenceslas Lauret, Bernard Le Roux, Yoann Maestri, Louis Picamoles, Sebastien Vahaamahina

Backs (14): Sebastien Bezy, Hugo Bonneval, Jonathan Danty, Alexandre Dumoulin, Benjamin Fall, Gael Fickou, Wesley Fofana, Remi Lamerat, Maxime Machenaud, Maxime Medard, Morgan Parra, Jules Plisson, Scott Spedding, Francois Trinh-Duc.

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