The Official Online RBS 6 Nations Store is open. The store has everything you need to get behind your team during the RBS 6 Nations, plus the store is now fully stocked with a much wider range of rugby merchandise.
Lakafia will pack down alongside captain Thierry Dusautoir and Biarritz teammate Imanol Harinordoquy at the Stade Chaban-Delmas with Chabal’s World Cup role restricted to a analyst gig with French television.
And Maso, who has been on the French management team since 1995, believes Lakafia deserves his shot based on his breakthrough season on the Basque coast.
“It was difficult to leave out Sebastien but Raphael had a better season than him and is more what we were after,” said Maso.
“He became first choice No. 8 at Biarritz which is quite an achievement when you think he plays in the same team as Imanol Harinordoquy.
“He’s in form and has brought a lot of enthusiasm to the team.
“Sebastien had a poor season, there’s no point in denying that. He might be a media icon but he’s always been picked for France based on his performances on the pitch.
“It was heartbreaking to have to leave him out, especially when you have spent ten years or so with him, but it was the right decision.”
The other big surprise in the French side was the inclusion of Fabien Barcella as the 23rd man in the squad.
The Biarritz prop had been expected to pull out of the World Cup squad this week after tearing a tendon in his bicep but has made a miraculous recovery.
And Marc Lievremont has confirmed Barcella will come on to the bench if there were any injury to any of the French props.
15 – Damien Traille – Biarritz
14 – Vincent Clerc – Toulouse
13 – David Marty – Perpignan
12 – Maxime Mermoz – Perpignan
11 – Alexis Palisson – Toulon
10 – François Trinh-Duc – Montpellier
9 – Dimitri Yachvili – Biarritz
1 – Sylvain Marconnet – Biarritz
2 – Dimitri Szarzewski – Stade Français
3 – Luc Ducalcon – Castres
4 – Julien Pierre – Clermont Auvergne
5 – Romain Millo-Chluski – Toulouse
6 – Thierry Dusautoir – Toulouse
7 – Imanol Harinordoquy – Biarritz
8 – Raphael Lakafia – Biarritz
16 – Guilhem Guirado – Perpignan
17 – Jean-Baptiste Poux – Toulouse
18 – Lionel Nallet – Racing
19 – Julien Bonnaire – Clermont Auvergne
20 – Morgan Parra – Clermont Auvergne
21 – David Skrela – Clermont Auvergne
22 – Maxime Medard – Toulouse
23 – Fabien Barcella - Biarritz