Nice - Fabien Galthie, preparing for his first Six Nations match as France coach against England on February 2, on Thursday sent 14 of his squad back to their clubs for the weekend.
The players will rejoin the national squad at their base in Nice after playing in the Top 14, but the implication is that Galthie is planning to pick his team from the 28 who have been kept in cotton wool.
Galthie had unveiled a youthful revamped squad, but many of the uncapped players are being sent home for the weekend.
The biggest surprise is that fullback Thomas Ramos, who has nine caps for France, is being sent back to play for Toulouse. His departure leaves uncapped 27-year-old Anthony Bouthier of Montpellier as the only recognised No. 15 in Nice.
Of the others sent home only another Toulouse man, Peato Mauvaka, who has played once for France, has a cap.
Bouthier is one of five uncapped players who remain in the core squad.
The remaining 28:
Forwards: Cyril Baille (Toulouse), Demba Bamba (Lyon), Camille Chat (Racing 92), Mohamed Haouas (Montpellier), Julien Marchand (Toulouse), Jefferson Poirot (Bordeaux-Begles), Bernard Le Roux (Racing 92), Boris Palu (Racing 92), Romain Taofifenua (Toulon), Paul Willemse (Montpellier), Gregory Alldritt (La Rochelle), Dylan Cretin (Lyon), Francois Cros (Toulouse), Alexandre Fischer (Clermont), Sekou Macalou (Stade Francais), Charles Ollivon (capt, Toulon)
Backs: Antoine Dupont (Toulouse), Baptiste Serin (Toulon), Matthieu Jalibert (Bordeaux-Begles), Romain Ntamack (Toulouse), Gael Fickou (Stade Francais), Virimi Vakatawa (Racing 92), Arthur Vincent (Montpellier), Gabriel Ngandebe (Montpellier), Damian Penaud (Clermont), Vincent Rattez (La Rochelle), Teddy Thomas (Racing 92), Anthony Bouthier (Montpellier)
The 14 released players:
Wilfrid Hounkpatin (Castres), Peato Mauvaka (Toulouse), Jean-Baptiste Gros (Toulon), Cyril Cazeaux (Bordeaux-Begles), Killian Geraci (Lyon), Selevasio Tolofua (Stade Toulouse), Cameron Woki (Bordeaux-Begles), Maxime Lucu (Bordeaux-Begles), Louis Carbonel (Toulon), Julien Heriteau (Toulon), Gervais Cordin (Toulon), Lester Etien (Stade Francais), Kylan Hamdaoui (Stade Francais), Thomas Ramos (Toulouse)