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Six Nations: France drop Louis Picamoles for mocking referee

France coach Philippe Saint-André has dropped Louis Picamoles from his squad to face Scotland but captain Pascal Papé survived despite also being criticises for disrespecting Irish referee Alain Rolland.

Picamoles - an automatic pick when he is in the squad - was axed for the Six Nations match with Scotland because he mockingly applauded Rolland after being shown a yellow card in their defeat to Wales last Friday.

Saint-Andre said: "After this defeat, we made some changes to compensate for injuries - but also in reaction to certain attitudes on the ground vis-a-vis the match officials that have no place in our sport.

"Respect is the foundation of our values. It is vital to send a signal to all players and remind them having the privilege of wearing the jersey imposes duties and obligations."

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The injuries are also significant. Clermont Auvergne announced yesterday that centre Wesley Fofana will be out for three to four weeks with a fractured rib, meaning he is virtually certain to be absent for the visit of Ireland to Paris on March 15th.

Flanker Yannick Nyanga, one of France’s better performers this campaign, will also miss the Scotland game at the least.

The Castres duo Rémi Lamerat and Antonie Claassen replace Fofana and Picamoles, while Clermont scrumhalf Morgan Parra is included despite being sent off for headbutting Montpellier’s Rene Ranger at the weekend.

France are in a four-way tie at the top of the Six Nations table with Ireland, England and Wales.

French Squad: Vincent Debaty, Thomas Domingo, Yannick Forestier, Brice Mach, Dimitri Szarzewski, Nicolas Mas, Rabah Slimani, Alexandre Flanquart, Yoann Maestri, Pascal Pape, Sebastien Vaahamahina, Virgile Bruni, Alexandre Lapandry, Wenceslas Lauret, Bernard le Roux, Damien Chouly, Antonie Claassen, Jean-Marc Doussain, Maxime Machenaud, Morgan Parra, Jules Plisson, Remi Tales, Mathieu Bastareaud, Gael Fickou, Remi Lamerat, Maxime Mermoz, Yoann Huget, Maxime Medard, Hugo Bonneval, Brice Dulin


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