REUTERS - Props Sylvain Marconnet and Thomas Domingo were omitted on Sunday from France’s 30-man squad for the rugby World Cup next month as ruthless coach Marc Lievremont ignored sentiment and took a slight risk with players’ fitness.
Lievremont, making the announcement in Dublin following Saturday’s final warm-up win over Ireland, had been widely expected to leave Fabien Barcella at home given his lack of match sharpness but has instead dropped experienced Marconnet.
The 35-year-old Marconnet has 84 caps but missed the last World Cup on home turf after a skiing accident and now the trip to New Zealand along with Domingo, who has been struggling with a knee problem.
“Sylvain is the last player I played with at club level and also in the France team, it’s been a difficult choice,” Lievremont told reporters.
“Sylvain asked me not to announce it to the group in his presence. I have always said the best two props in France were Thomas and Fabien. I said I hoped to keep one and that is the decision I have made.
“I have also been surprised by the progress of Jean-Baptiste Poux and Luc Ducalcon.”
Barcella ruptured his Achilles tendon in August last year and although he featured in Saturday’s 26-22 win he looked slightly off the pace.
Guilhem Guirado, only drafted into the squad as cover for injured hooker William Servat, keeps his place along with Servat.
Winger Yoann Huget was dropped from the initial 33-man preliminary squad earlier this month for breaching anti-doping regulations.
Centre Maxime Mermoz suffered a knee problem in the first warm-up win against Ireland on Aug. 13 but will be fit for the tournament.
The World Cup takes place from Sept. 9-Oct. 23 with France, who have never won the trophy despite their famous flair, in Pool A with Japan, Canada, the All Blacks and Tonga.
The deadline for final squads to be announced is Monday.