France spring selection surprises again while Habana has news

Phillipe Saint-Andre has named his 33 man squad for the Six Nations, with Mathieu Bastareaud returning to the squad, and Pascal Pape named as captain.

Pascal Pape led the side during the Autumn Internaionals in the absence of Theirry Dusautoir, leading them to victories against Australia, Argentina and Samoa.

That he retains it despite the return of Dusautoir though is something of a surprise; particularly given the widespread praise that he has earned in the role, from Richie McCaw in particular.

Bastareaud has not played for France since France beat England in March 2010, with a succession of coaches labeling him one dimensional and overweight.

His form for Toulon has been impressive though this season, and deservedly sees him called up. His Toulon teammate Frederic Michalak retains his place in the squad, having been named on the short list for the IRB’s Player of the Year award during the Autumn Internationals.

It has been confirmed today that the duo will be joined at Toulon by South African star Bryan Habana, who will move to the club at the end of the 2013 Super Rugby season.

France Six Nations Squad:

Forwards:

Vincent Debaty, Thomas Domingo, Yannick Forestier, Benjamin Kayser, Guilhem Guirado, Dimitri Szarzewski, David Attoub, Luc Ducalcon, Nicolas Mas, Yoann Maestri, Pascal Papé (cap), Jocelino Suta, Romain Taofifenua, Damien Chouly, Thierry Dusautoir, Wenceslas Lauret, Yannick Nyanga, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Louis Picamoles.

Backs:

Maxime Machenaud, Morgan Parra, Frédéric Michalak, François Trinh-Duc, Mathieu Bastareaud, Jean Marcellin Buttin, Vincent Clerc, Brice Dulin, Benjamin Fall, Gaël Fickou, Wesley Fofana, Florian Fritz, Yoann Huget, Maxime Mermoz.

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