France head coach Jacques Brunel names Louis Picamoles in World Cup squad
Last Updated: 02/09/19 9:01pm
Louis Picamoles has been included in France's 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup.
The 33-year-old, who is expected to quit international rugby after the tournament in Japan, will take part in his third World Cup after head coach Jacques Brunel preferred him to Francois Cros.
The final list was drawn from a preliminary squad of 37, with Felix Lambey and Romain Taofifenua notably omitted.
France will take on England, Argentina, Tonga and the United States in Pool C.
"We picked (Picamoles) after several nice performances and because of his experience," Brunel said.
"We also picked a player who can play third and second row in Arthur Iturria."
Les Bleus, who have slipped to eighth in the world rankings, geared up for the tournament with wins against Scotland and Italy, and a defeat away to the Scots.
They were far from impressive but Brunel believes they can cause an upset in Japan, with a potentially decisive clash against Argentina on September 21 their first outing.
"The favourites are always the same. The number one favourites are the All Blacks," he said.
"This squad is a good mix of youth and experience, it's a good balance. The Pool is tough but we hope to get very very far in this tournament," added Brunel, who included five half-backs in his squad - scrum-halves Baptiste Serin, Antoine Dupont and Maxime Machenaud and fly-halves Camille Lopez and Romain Ntamack.
"With five halfbacks we're ready for every possibility," Brunel explained.
The squad will gather at their training camp in Marcoussis on Wednesday before flying to Japan on Saturday.
France's 31-man 2019 Rugby World Cup squad
Forwards: Jefferson Poirot (Bordeaux-Bgles), Rabah Slimani (Clermont), Demba Bamba (Lyon), Emerick Setiano (Toulon), Cyril Baille (Toulouse), Guilhem Guirado (Montpellier, cap.), Camille Chat (Racing 92), Peato Mauvaka (Toulouse), Sebastien Vahaamahina (Clermont), Paul Gabrillagues (Stade Franais), Arthur Iturria (Clermont), Bernard Le Roux (Racing 92), Gregory Alldritt (La Rochelle), Charles Ollivon (Toulon), Louis Picamoles (Montpellier), Yacouba Camara (Montpellier), Wenceslas Lauret (Racing 92).
Backs: Antoine Dupont (Toulouse), Baptiste Serin (Toulon), Maxime Machenaud (Racing 92), Camille Lopez (Clermont), Romain Ntamack (Toulouse), Gael Fickou (Stade Franais), Wesley Fofana (Clermont), Sofiane Guitoune (Toulouse), Virimi Vakatawa (Racing 92), Yoann Huget (Toulouse), Alivereti Raka (Clermont), Damian Penaud (Clermont), Maxime Medard (Toulouse), Thomas Ramos (Toulouse). (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge)