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Papé still French captain for Six Nations

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French rugby coach Philippe Saint-André was in Marcoussis on January 11th to announce his preliminary squad for the 2013 Six Nations tournament. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP
12:27 CET+01:00
Lock Pascal Papé is to stay as captain of France for the Six Nations tournament despite the return to the squad of Thierry Dusautoir, coach Philippe Saint-André announced on Friday.

The Stade Francais forward, capped 45 times for his country, was handed the skipper's role for France's November Test matches after Dusautoir was rested to fully recover from injuries.

The French won all three games under his captaincy against Australia,Argentina and Samoa – and that was enough to convince Saint-André to stick with Papé despite the return of Dusautoir.

Dusautoir has captained France 31 times in 54 appearances, most notably atthe 2011 World Cup in New Zealand where France reached the final and he was named international player of the year.

In announcing a 33-strong squad, Saint-André also handed a return to the international scene to powerful Toulon centre Mathieu Bastareaud, who has been out of favour since the win over England in March 2010.

Elsewhere, Saint-André largely stuck with the group that he used in the November Tests, with the only uncapped player being 22-year-old Perpignan lock Romain Taofifeuna.

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The squad will be cut to 23 players on January 28 with France playing their Six Nations opener against Italy in Rome on February 3.

The France squad for the Six Nations tournament:

Forwards (19): Vincent Debaty (Clermont), Thomas Domingo (Clermont),
Yannick Forestier (Castres), Benjamin Kayser (Clermont), Guilhem Guirado
(Perpignan), Dimitri Szarzewski (Racing-Metro), David Attoub (Stade Français),
Luc Ducalcon (Racing-Metro), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Yoann Maestri
(Toulouse), Pascal Papé(Stade Francais, capt), Jocelino Suta (Toulon), Romain
Taofifenua (Perpignan), Damien Chouly (Clermont), Thierry Dusautoir
(Toulouse), Wenceslas Lauret (Biarritz), Yannick Nyanga (Toulouse), Fulgence
Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Louis Picamoles (Toulouse)

Backs (14): Maxime Machenaud (Racing-Metro), Morgan Parra (Clermont),
Frederic Michalak (Toulon), François Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Mathieu
Bastareaud (Toulon), Jean-Marcellin Buttin (Clermont), Vincent Clerc
(Toulouse), Brice Dulin (Castres), Benjamin Fall (Racing-Metro), Gael Fickou
(Toulouse), Wesley Fofana (Clermont), Florian Fritz (Toulouse), Yoann Huget
(Toulouse), Maxime Mermoz (Toulon)

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