Paul Willemse has missed out on selection for France’s 31-man squad for the November internationals against the Springboks, Argentina and Fiji.
There was much talk prior to the announcement that Willemse, who is in the process of getting a French passport, could be included. But the South African-born Montpellier lock, along with Fiji-born wing Alivereti Raka, missed out on selection due to a delay by authorities in the issuing of their French passports.
Both players have applied for French nationality but were told they needed to wait until they were in possession of their passports.
‘To make the request [to become a citizen] already shows that you have the will to be French, it is a good thing,’ said FFR president Bernard Laporte. ‘But if you do not have the passport, you are not French yet.’
The squad includes two uncapped players in Brive prop Demba Bamba, who starred for France at the World Rugby U20 Championship, and Toulouse hooker Julien Marchand.
No 8 Louis Picamoles is recalled for the first time since France lost to Scotland in the Six Nations in March, while Camille Lopez is back from injury. There is also a recall for Maxime Medard, who been in good form for Toulouse this season.
France squad for November
Forwards: Uini Atonio, Mathieu Babillot, Demba Bamba, Camille Chat, Paul Gabrillagues, Kélian Galletier, Cedate Gomes Sa, Guilhem Guirado, Arthur Iturria, Wenceslas Lauret, Bernard Le Roux, Yoann Maestri, Julien Marchand, Louis Picamoles, Jefferson Poirot, Dany Priso, Sébastien Vahaamahina
Backs: Mathieu Bastareaud, Anthony Belleau, Geoffrey Doumayrou, Antoine Dupont, Benjamin Fall, Gaël Fickou, Wesley Fofana, Rémi Lamerat, Camille Lopez, Maxime Médard, Morgan Parra, Damian Penaud, Baptiste Serin, Teddy Thomas
Photo: lexandre Dimou/Icon Sport via Getty Images