Lopez drops out of France squad for SA tour

Camille Lopez (Gallo Images)
Camille Lopez (Gallo Images)

Paris - Clermont flyhalf Camille Lopez will not join up with the France squad for their upcoming tour of South Africa, instead being rested after a long season, his coach Guy Noves said on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Lopez, who has won 16 caps for his country, will feature for Clermont in Sunday's French Top 14 finale against Toulon.

He was due to join up with Les Bleus in South Africa next week, but will now not travel and will undergo an operation.

And Noves will not call up a replacement, for now anyway.

"For the moment, I prefer to wait," Noves told AFP, confirming an earlier report by sports daily L'Equipe.

Speaking to press before Sunday's final, Lopez added: "We have had a discussion, with the France team staff and that of Clermont. I am going to use this opportunity to have an operation."

Lopez did not explain the nature of the operation, saying it would "remain personal".

The coach had already chosen not to call up two of Lopez's Clermont colleagues in centre Remi Lamerat and back row Damien Chouly.

Lopez has become a first-choice for his country since Franois Trinh-Duc picked up an injury playing against Samoa in November, but Sunday's final will be his 32nd match of the season. Seven of those matches have been for France.

France play three test matches against the Springboks on June 10 in Pretoria, June 17 in Durban and June 24 in Johannesburg.

The Toulon trio of Xavier Chiiocci, Guilhem Guirado and Romain Taofifenua and Clermont's Arthur Iturria, Damian Penaud and Scott Spedding will join up with the France squad in South Africa after the Top 14 final.

Revised squad of 34

Forwards (19): Uini Atonio (La Rochelle), Eddy Ben Arous (Racing 92), Mohamed Boughanmi (La Rochelle), Yacouba Camara (Toulouse/Montpellier), Camille Chat (Racing 92), Xavier Chiocci (Toulon), Loann Goujon (Bordeaux-Begles), Kevin Gourdon (La Rochelle), Guilhem Guirado (Toulon), Arthur Iturria (Clermont), Anthony Jelonch (Castres), Julien Le Devedec (Brive), Bernard Le Roux (Racing 92), Yoann Maestri (Toulouse), Clement Maynadier (Bordeaux-Begles), Louis Picamoles (Northampton/ENG), Jefferson Poirot (Bordeaux-Begles), Rabah Slimani (Stade Francais/Clermont), Romain Taofifenua (Toulon)

Backs (15): Nans Ducuing (Bordeaux-Begles), Henry Chavancy (Racing 92), Jonathan Danty (Stade Francais), Jean-Marc Doussain (Toulouse), Brice Dulin (Racing 92), Antoine Dupont (Castres), Gael Fickou (Toulouse), Yoann Huget (Toulouse), Maxime Machenaud (Racing 92), Damian Penaud (Clermont), Jules Plisson (Stade Francais), Vincent Rattez (La Rochelle), Baptiste Serin (Bordeaux-Begles), Scott Spedding (Clermont), Virimi Vakatawa (FFR)

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