France coach Marc Lievremont has named just one specialist fly-half in his country’s 30-man squad for next month’s Six Nations.
Lionel Beauxis of Stade Francais’ seems almost certain to wear the No 10 shirt as the only recognised outside-half included in the squad.
Toulouse playmaker David Skrela is currently out injured, while Francois Trinh-Duc and the mercurial Frederic Michalak have failed to shine so far this season.
That leaves scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, who has played in the fly-half spot for Toulouse on occasion this term, acting as cover for Beauxis.
Centres Yannick Jauzion and Benoit Baby could also cover the problem position, although it would be a real surprise to see either named in their country’s No10 shirt for the opening match against Ireland in Dublin on February 7.
The 30 players named by Lievremont will take part in a three-day training camp on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week as France look to improve on their third-place showing in last year’s competition. The squad will then be cut to 23 players following the conclusion of that camp.
Vincent Clerc misses out after only recently returning to domestic action after a serious knee injury but Toulouse duo Clement Poitrenaud and centre Florian Fritz, along with Clermont Auvergne wing Aurelien Rougerie, win international recalls.
Two English-based are included in the form of Sale’s Sebastien Chabal and Leicester’s Benjamin Kayser.
Perpignan’s Maxime Mermoz is named as one of four centres, while flanker and clubmate Damien Chouly is given a chance to build on the two caps he earned on the 2007 tour to New Zealand after impressing in French and European rugby in recent months.
Backs: Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, Sebastien Tillous-Borde, Morgan Parra, Lionel Beauxis, Yannick Jauzion, Benoit Baby, Florian Fritz, Aurelien Rougerie, Julien Malzieu, Cedric Heymans, Maxime Mermoz, Clement Poitrenaud, Alexis Palisson, Maxime Medard
Forwards: Nicolas Mas, Lionel Faure, Benoit Lecouls, Fabien Barcella, Guilhem Guirado, Dimitri Szarzewski, Benjamin Kayser, Sebastien Chabal, Lionel Nallet, Jerome Thion, Romain Millo-Chluski, Julien Bonnaire, Thierry Dusautoir, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Louis Picamoles, Damien Chouly