PARIS (AP) — France has called up four uncapped players for a training camp this month ahead of the November home tests against world champion New Zealand, Tonga and South Africa.
Prop Rabah Slimani and flanker Bernard Leroux, who both play for Stade Francais, are the newcomers in the forwards while Castres flyhalf Remi Tales, Perpignan fullback Sofiane Guitoune join the backs for a three-day camp from Oct. 28.
France hosts New Zealand on Nov. 9 at Stade de France, then Tonga in Le Havre the following weekend and finally South Africa at Stade de France on Nov. 23. Philippe Saint-Andre's team needs to get its confidence back after a difficult year.
It finished last in the Six Nations for the first time since the tournament was expanded 13 years ago, and lost all three matches to the All Blacks when it toured New Zealand in June — including a 30-0 whitewash.
In last year's November tests, France looked good, thrashing Australia to record its biggest win against the Wallabies since 1976 before beating Argentina 39-22 and grinding out a 22-14 win against Samoa.
Saint-Andre must choose his long-term captain with lock Pascal Pape returning to the squad for the first time since injuring his knee during the 23-18 loss to Italy in February. He was captain at the start of the Six Nations, but flanker Thierry Dusautoir, the World Cup captain, took over after Pape's injury. Dusautoir is also in the 30-man squad.
Flyhalf Frederic Michalak was not included. The 30-year-old, who was 66 caps for France, has been out since dislocating his shoulder during the 30-0 loss on June 15, and returned to the Toulon squad only on Friday.
Forwards: Thomas Domingo, Yannick Forestier, Benjamin Kayser, Dimitri Szarzewski, Nicolas Mas, Rabah Slimani, Alexandre Flanquart, Pascal Pape, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Thierry Dusautoir, Bernard Leroux, Yannick Nyanga, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Damien Chouly, Louis Picamoles.
Backs: Jean-Marc Doussain, Maxime Machenaud, Morgan Parra, Camille Lopez, Remi Tales, Mathieu Bastareaud, Gael Fickou, Wesley Fofana, Florian Fritz, Maxime Mermoz, Maxime Medard, Sofiane Guitoune, Brice Dulin, Yoann Huget.