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Recalls aplenty for France's tour

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    23 May 2018     Getty Images

Parra, 29, has played 66 Test matches and will be joined in his recall by Wesley Fofana, 30 and 44 Tests, who last played against the All Blacks in November 2016.

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But the French selectors have dipped even further back into their past in recalling Alexandre Lapandry, 29, 10 Tests, who hasn't been on the Test scene since March 2014.

The only player new to international play is 20-year-old hooker Pierre Bougarit who made a big impression with Stade Rochelais over the past season.

Also recalled by coach Jacques Brunel is Cyril Baille (24, 8 Tests) who suffered a bad knee injury a year ago but who had a good end of the 2017-18 season for his Toulouse side.

Others include: Yoann Maestri (30, 59 Tests), Rochelais Uini Atoni (28, 28 Tests) and Jules Plisson (26, 15 Tests) all back for the first time since last year's disastrous tour of South Africa. Maxime Medard (31, 47 Tests) is back for the first time since the 2016 tour of Argentina.

Brunel said, "This tour in New Zealand is the ultimate opportunity for us to perform a review of our players while also looking at new players before the start of the pre-World Cup season.

"Some players in this group had this opportunity and seized it for the last Six Nations when we had to make several substitutions and they are still with us," he said.
The tour would be a chance for those players to prove their worth as the selections narrow before the November Tests and next season's Six Nations, he said.

A squad of 45 were involved in a pre-tour camp at France's National Rugby Centre before the touring squad of 32 was announced on Tuesday.

Midfield back Mathieu Bastareaud said: "We have not seen each other since the end of the [Six Nations] tournament after we all returned to our clubs and it has been important to meet again to review the systems and hear the expectations of the management for the tour.

"It is also a chance to introduce new players and develop combinations," he said.

Rabah Slimani said the get-together had allowed them to regain some of their cohesion from the Six Nations while also allowing them to head to New Zealand with more confidence as a result of the work already done.

The players are: (forwards) Atonio Uini, Cyril Baiile, Ben Arous Eddy, Gomes Sa, Dany Priso, Rabah Slimani, Camille Chat, Pierre Bougarit, Adrien Pelissie, Paul Gabrillagues, Felix Lambey, Yoann Maestri, Bernard Le Roux, Mathieu Babillot, Kelian Galletier, Kevin Gourdon, Alexandre Lapandry, Fabien Sanconnie; (backs) Morgan Parra, Baptiste Serin, Anthony Bellau, Jules Plisson, Mathieu Bastereaud, Geoffrey Doumayrou, Gael Fickou, Wesley Fofana, Remi Lamerat, Remy Grosso, Teddy Thomas, Hugo Bonneval, Benjamin Fall, Maxine Medard.

A 23-man French Barbarians team has also been named to play two games, against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday, June 15, and the Highlanders at Invercargill on Friday, June 22.