France team manager Jo Maso feels it would be lamentable to suddenly disregard the claims of Fabien Pelous in the wake of Les Bleus' latest RBS 6 Nations Championship triumph.
Pelous, France's captain since the 2003 World Cup, missed the entire RBS 6 Nations owing to an ankle injury he sustained playing for Toulouse in a European Cup group game against Llanelli Scarlets in December.
In his absence, Raphael Ibanez was made Les Bleus skipper and the Wasps hooker led the team to a fourth title in six years, secured thanks to a 46-19 win over Scotland on Saturday.
Some have suggested the inspirational Ibanez should keep the captain's armband for the World Cup, which is being held in France later this year.
And the performances of locks Lionel Nallet and Jerome Thion have even led others to speculate Pelous' place in France's starting XV is in jeopardy.
Maso, however, has given his full backing to his regular skipper, who is still struggling to fully recover from his latest injury.
'Fabien, on form, is an essential player for us,' said Maso. 'And we haven't maintained our confidence in him all this way just to dump him in the final straight. That would be lamentable.
'The man and the player deserves more. With the career that he has had, it would be too stupid for him to miss this moment.
'Fabien is one of the important elements in our group. He is heard, he is respected. When he speaks, there is silence. That counts for a lot.'
Maso hinted that, fitness permitting, Ibanez, 34, and Pelous, 33, could rotate the armband in the World Cup, which kicks off in September.
'We hope that we will play seven matches until the final. They could share the captaincy,' he added.
'But it does not worry me. They are the two best friends in the world, and I know nothing will annoy them.'