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RUGBY

Papé still French captain for Six Nations

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.

Papé still French captain for Six Nations
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

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.

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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RUGBY

French rugby mourns death of fourth young player in months

French rugby was left mourning the death of a 23-year-old student on Monday, the fourth young player to have died in eight months.

French rugby mourns death of fourth young player in months
Photo: AFP

Nathan Soyeux, who was not registered with the French rugby federation (FFR), passed away in Dijon on Sunday, having been admitted to hospital after an adverse reaction to a tackle in a match at a tournament for engineering schools on November 24.

Soyeux sustained the blow whilst being tackled by an opponent and was at first able to sit up before complaining of nausea and then losing consciousness.

Taken to Dijon hospital, the player was put in an induced coma for two weeks, but his health deteriorated following efforts to bring him around, according to his engineering school, Esirem.

Soyeux becomes the fourth young French player since May to die after being injured during a match.

In December, Stade Francais youth flanker Nicolas Chauvin, 18, died after breaking his neck. In August Louis Fajfrowski, 21, died following a heavy tackle playing for Aurillac and in May 17-year-old Adrien Descrulhes passed away a day after receiving a blow to the head playing for amateur club Billom.

Chauvin's death prompted France's Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu to call on rugby authorities to make the game safer, with the former Olympic swimmer saying she would meet FFR president Bernard Laporte to discuss ways of preventing more deaths.

The FFR confirmed in December it will put together a global forum alongside World Rugby, the sport's governing body, to discuss player health and the evolution of the game's laws in March 2019 in France.

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