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France drop eight players for ‘inappropriate behaviour’

Teddy Thomas had a wild time in Edinburgh on Sunday, scoring two tries then going a night out that has led to his omission from the France squad © AFP/File / ANDY BUCHANAN

PARIS, France, Feb 13Eight France players who went out in Edinburgh after the Six Nations loss to Scotland on Sunday were omitted from the squad announced on Tuesday for the next game, against Italy.

Those omitted from the 31-man squad for the match on February 23 in Marseille are Teddy Thomas, Louis Picamoles, Arthur Iturria, Anthony Belleau, Jonathan Danty, Sekou Macalou, Remi Lamerat and Felix Lambey.

Of those eight, only winger Thomas, who scored two tries against Scotland and one against Ireland the previous week, and Iturria, a lock, started at Murrayfield. Veteran No.8 Picamoles and fly-half Belleau came off the bench in the second half.

“With their inappropriate behaviour they did not respect their status as international players and the responsibilities that brings,” the French rugby federation said in a statement.

The night out became public when Scottish police delayed the departure of the French team’s flight home on Monday morning. The police wanted to talk to six players because they were potential witnesses, rather than perpetrators, in a possible sexual assault but quickly concluded that no crime had been committed.

Of the six players interviewed by police only Yacouba Camara, who started at flanker against Scotland, has kept his place. Thomas, Iturria and Macalou were not among those taken off the plane but have also been punished by the French rugby federation for being in a bar late at night.

Hooker Alexandre Lapandry has also been dropped to make way for Camille Chat, who has recovered from flu.

Coach Jacques Brunel is also able to bring back centre Mathieu Bastareaud, whose ban for using homophobic language in a European club game has ended.

To fill the other vacant spots, Brunel recalled Francois Trinh-Duc, Gael Fickou, Kelian Galletier, Remy Grosso, Bernard Le Roux and Romain Taofifenua and brought in uncapped Mathieu Babillot.

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