French federation propose autumn Test limit for players in Top 14 row

Paris (AFP) –


The French rugby federation (FFR) proposed to the domestic league the idea of a maximum of five appearances for each player during the six Test matches later this year, a source told AFP on Tuesday after a meeting between the two bodies.

The league (LNR) who run the lucrative Top 14 and the FFR are at loggerheads over the extension of the autumn international window from three to seven weeks.

Earlier this month the LNR, backed by their English Premiership counterparts, filed a complaint against World Rugby with the European Commission over the move which would see six rounds of the Top 14 being played with international players.

World Rugby has adapted its regulation nine to allow national sides to play more fixtures later this year which will include a newly-created Autumn Nations Cup and finishing this season's Six Nations.

Les Bleus have half a dozen fixtures scheduled and a document seen by AFP said head coach Fabien Galthie has agreed the cap on appearances.

Additionally it said, Galthie and his staff will be unable to select players, such as Toulouse's Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack, for the October 24 Test with Wales if they reach the European Champions or Challenge Cup finals with their club a week before.

Virimi Vakatawa's Racing 92, Mathieu Jalibert's Bordeaux-Begles and France captain Charles Ollivon's Toulon are also featuring in continental semi-finals this season.

Also, a wider-squad member not selected by France for a game during the almost two-month period will return to his club for a full week and all players will be released for domestic duty for the weekend of November 7 where there is no Test match, to feature in the eighth round of the Top 14.