France lose Dragons duo
Goulding not looking to bolster squad with Australian-born players
Last Updated: 03/06/09 10:32am
Catalans Dragons duo Dimitri Pelo and Jamal Fakir will not be available to play for France against England on June 13.
"It's no good picking Australians who would not get in the State of Origin team. After a disastrous World Cup, it's time to bite the bullet"
Bobbie Goulding Quotes of the week
Winger Pelo hurt his ankle in Les Catalans' 32-28 home defeat by St Helens, while second-rower Fakir picked up a knee problem in the same game.
New coach Bobbie Goulding has had to rule the pair out through injury, leaving him lacking in options in the back-line.
While he has plenty of forwards to pick from, Goulding admits the absence of Pelo leaves him with a selection issue over who to start at full-back.
"It's a big blow," he said. "I was going to name Pelo at full-back. There are not many outside backs in France.
"The forwards are fine - I think we can compete with anyone up front.
"I really think David Ferriol is one of the best props in the world, Olivier Elima is having his best season ever, Jerome Guisset keeps coming every single year and Kane Bentley can be one of best hookers around."
The situation could possibly improve for Goulding in time for the end-of-season Four Nations tournament.
The Dragons' Australian quartet of Clint Greenshields, Adam Mogg, Casey McGuire and Jason Croker will all become eligible to represent France under the three-year residency rule.
However, the new boss is determined to stick with homegrown talent rather than follow the example of his predecessor, John Monie, who included four Australia-born players in his squad for last year's World Cup.
"It's time now to produce French kids," said the former St Helens scrum-half.
"It's no good picking Australians who would not get in the State of Origin team. After a disastrous World Cup, it's time to bite the bullet.
"There could be one or two exceptions but they would have to be absolute quality and would certainly have to play Super League."
France's team to face England will not be named until Monday, after the Catalans' home game against Leeds Rhinos on Saturday.