Mathieu Bastareaud one step closer to France return in Six Nations
Last Updated: January 29, 2013 9:43am
Mathieu Bastareaud: Out of the wilderness in French rugby terms
Mathieu Bastareaud has made the second cut for a place in the France squad for the Six Nations after coach Philippe Saint-Andre further trimmed his initial selection.
Centre Bastareaud had been out of French plans for nearly three years until his recall to their 33-man training squad.
Bastareaud was one of the country's most prized players in 2009 but his fall from grace was a rapid one and he has not played for his country because of form and weight concerns since the 2010 tournament.
Back-row Thierry Dusautoir and prop Luc Ducalcon were also retained, although Saint-Andre has to remove one more player to take his squad down to 23 on Wednesday.
Dusautoir, IRB player of the year in 2011, has not played for Les Bleus since the last Six Nations in which the French came a poor fourth, missing the tour of Argentina before a knee injury kept him out of the November Tests.
Racing Metro's Ducalcon last featured at the 2011 World Cup but also makes the squad, while Saint-Andre has given a vote of confidence to 22-year-old second row Romain Taofifenua, who has just one cap to date.
Forwards: Debaty (Clermont), Forestier (Castres), Kayser (Clermont), Szarzewski (Racing-Metro), Ducalcon (Racing-Metro), Mas (Perpignan), Maestri (Toulouse), Pape (Stade Francais, capt), Taofifenua (Perpignan), Chouly (Clermont), Dusautoir (Toulouse), Nyanga (Toulouse), Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Picamoles (Toulouse)
Backs: Machenaud (Racing-Metro), Parra (Clermont), Michalak (Toulon), Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Bastareaud (Toulon), Fall (Racing-Metro), Fofana (Clermont), Fritz (Toulouse), Huget (Toulouse), Mermoz (Toulon)