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France rejigs rugby selection process
07:37 AEST Sun Dec 30 2012

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre will, with his assistants Yannick Bru and Patrice Lagisquet, now take charge of team selection after the traditional committee was disbanded, a French rugby official said Saturday.

The selection committee's latest four-year mandate has come to an end and it simply was not renewed, French rugby federation vice-president Jean Dunyach told AFP.

In place for several decades, the selection committee was in its last guise presided over by Jo Maso and made up of national technical director Jean-Claude Skrela, the under-20 coach Fabien Pelous and his predecessor Philippe Sella, now coach of top 14 outfit Agen.

"When we proposed the France team to Philippe Saint-Andre in 2011, we agreed in talks on a new organisation: he wanted to be coach-selector and have with him two men on the ground who would make up his backroom staff," said Dunyach.

"It's not only a political desire of (federation president) Pierre Camou and the federation, but also a desire to change the functioning of the national team to entrust coaches with more responsibility.

"This means players will also see that the decision-makers are really the people who coach them and not other people who can influence coaches."

Saint-Andre will unveil a list of 30-33 players for the Six Nations on January 11.

The French team, unbeaten in three November Tests, will kick off the tournament away to Italy on February 3, before welcoming defending Grand Slam champions Wales to the Stade de France six days later.

Les Bleus then face two tough away games in England on February 23 and Ireland on March 9, before rounding off with a home Test against Scotland on March 16.