Francois Trinh-Duc has found himself eased out of French rugby’s international side in favour of Toulon veteran five-eighth Frederic Michalak.
Toulon veteran five-eighth Frederic Michalak has been preferred to Montpellier’s Francois Trinh-Duc in France coach Philippe Saint-Andre’s squad for a three-Test tour of Australia in June.
Saint-Andre named a 31-man squad on Wednesday and once again Trinh-Duc finds himself out in the cold, with Michalak recalled as back up for first-choice No.10 Remi Tales.
Although first choice under Saint-Andre’s predecessor Marc Lievremont, Trinh-Duc has found himself eased out of international reckoning under the new coach.
The 26-year-old, who has played 49 times for France, has been in scintillating form for his club recently, but Saint-Andre insists his omission is not personal.
“There is no case surrounding Trinh-Duc. He was on the tour to Argentina (summer, 2012). He played in the Six Nations when there were injuries,” said the coach.
“We make choices. Tales is our first choice; Michalak is coming back as a fly-half (having often been played at halfback by Toulon).
“I make decisions and I take responsibility for them.
“Francois is in good form but we also have to talk about Jules Plisson and Camille Lopez, who will join Clermont.
“Everyone is working hard, just like Francois Trinh-Duc.
“Based on the balance of the squad and the team we’re building, Remi Tales remains our first choice.”
Since the end of the 2013 Six Nations tournament, where he was mostly second choice to Michalak at No.10, Trinh-Duc has made just one 13-minute appearance for France as a substitute.
Even when Tales was out injured during the 2014 Six Nations, Trinh-Duc was overlooked for a starting berth in favour of young Stade Francais five-eighth Plisson.
The omission is all the more surprising because Michalak had been overlooked throughout the Six Nations in February and March, only now to be welcomed back into the fold.
Three players are set to make their debuts for France if they play in Australia with uncapped trio, Toulon prop Alexandre Menini, Castres centre Remi Lamerat and Bordeaux-Begles winger Felix Le Bourhis the surprise inclusions in the squad.
France play Australia in Brisbane on June 7, in Melbourne a week later and then round off their three-match tour in Sydney on June 21.
Forwards: Thomas Domingo, Alexandre Menini, Guilhem Guirado, Benjamin Kayser, Christopher Tolofua, Vincent Debaty, Nicolas Mas, Rabah Slimani, Alexandre Flanquart, Bernard Le Roux, Yoann Maestri, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Antoine Burban, Damien Chouly, Thierry Dusautoir (capt), Yannick Nyanga, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Louis Picamoles
Backs: Maxime Machenaud, Morgan Parra, Frederic Michalak, Remi Tales, Mathieu Bastareaud, Gael Fickou, Wesley Fofana, Remi Lamerat, Yoann Huget, Felix Le Bourhis, Maxime Medard, Hugo Bonneval, Brice Dulin