France coach Bernard Laporte has hinted that Saracens hooker Raphael Ibanez could make a return to the national side for the summer Test matches should his good club form continue.
Ibanez, 32, called time on his international career at the end of the 2003 World Cup in Australia after being capped 72 times but is one of 70 players that is being closely monitored by the French coaches.
The hooker underwent physical tests in Marcoussis, the French team's headquarters near Paris, last September and could well appear in the blue shirt when France take on South Africa and Australia in June.
"Why not take Raphael Ibanez with us for the summer tour, especially if Fabien [Pelous] does not come?" said Laporte.
Pelous, together with fellow veterans Serge Betsen, Sylvain Marconnet, Yann Delaigue and Christophe Dominici, are expected to be rested in the summer.
"Raphael is an experienced player and has a lot of things to bring to the group and his return will also depend on his good performances with his club," Laporte continued.
Meanwhile, Laporte has also made it clear he wants to shortlist 40 players by the start of 2006 in a bid to be better prepared for the 2007 World Cup.
England's preparations for the Autumn International series were potentially dealt a further blow as Maro Itoje was forced to undergo an x-ray after Saracens' European victory over Scarlets on Saturday night.