PARIS - Thierry Dusautoir will captain France in Sunday's Six Nations clash against Wales after coach Philippe Saint-Andre named his squad yesterday.
The 31-year-old Dusautoir — capped 56 times with 33 of those as captain — returns to the captaincy as the man who replaced him as skipper, Pascal Pape, has been ruled out because of a back injury.
Saint-Andre explained that Dusautoir had not been originally named captain because he was battling back after injury.
"We wanted to give him time to prepare properly, to return to his best level and not place any extra pressure on him," the 45-year-old Saint-Andre said.
Saint-Andre called up Toulon lock Jocelino Suta as Pape's replacement in the squad, who will be looking to bounce back from their opening 23-18 defeat in Rome by Italy on Sunday.
Saint-Andre, who has been in charge since after the 2011 World Cup, said that despite the defeat the urge had been to resist making wholesale changes.
"Aside from Pascal Pape's injury we resisted the temptation to make changes to the squad as we wanted to work on turning them into a more cohesive unit and also we have one day less to prepare them for the game," said Saint-Andre.
"I hope that will pay off in terms of cohesion and defying the Welsh on Saturday and there will be a united hunger to do so.
"I have along with Yannick Bru (the forwards coach) and Patrice Lagisquet (the backs coach), rewatched the match several times, analysed and dissected the game and the players.
"We have remarked on several moments of errors and lack of lucidity and fluency in Sunday's game.
"It is imperative that our team rediscovers its' collective hunger, enthusiasm and spontaneity."
"The tournament is far from over, our ambition is still there to show our best in a high quality competition."
Wales too started with a defeat, 30-23 at home to Ireland, and will travel to Paris on an eight game losing streak — a far cry from their Six Nations Grand Slam of last season.