Paris – Lock Pascal Pape is to stay as captain of France for the Six Nations tournament despite the return to the squad of Thierry Dusautoir, coach Philippe Saint-Andre announced on Friday.
The Stade Francais forward, capped 45 times for his country, was handed the skipper's role for France's November Test matches after Dusautoir was rested to fully recover from injuries.
The French won all three games under his captaincy against Australia, Argentina and Samoa -- and that was enough to convince Saint-Andre to stick with Pape despite the return of Dusautoir.
Dusautoir has captained France 31 times in 54 appearances, most notably at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand where France reached the final and he was named international player of the year.
In announcing a 33-strong squad, Saint-Andre also handed a return to the international scene to powerful Toulon centre Mathieu Bastareaud, who has been out of favour since the win over England in March 2010.
Elsewhere, Saint-Andre largely stuck with the group that he used in the November Tests, with the only uncapped player being 22-year-old Perpignan lock Romain Taofifeuna.
The squad will be cut to 23 players on January 28 with France playing their Six Nations opener against Italy in Rome on February 3.
The France squad for the Six Nations tournament:
Forwards (19): Vincent Debaty (Clermont), Thomas Domingo (Clermont), Yannick Forestier (Castres), Benjamin Kayser (Clermont), Guilhem Guirado (Perpignan), Dimitri Szarzewski (Racing-Metro), David Attoub (Stade FranÃ§ais), Luc Ducalcon (Racing-Metro), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Yoann Maestri (Toulouse), Pascal Pape (Stade Francais, capt), Jocelino Suta (Toulon), Romain Taofifenua (Perpignan), Damien Chouly (Clermont), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse), Wenceslas Lauret (Biarritz), Yannick Nyanga (Toulouse), Fulgence Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Louis Picamoles (Toulouse)
Backs (14): Maxime Machenaud (Racing-Metro), Morgan Parra (Clermont), Frederic Michalak (Toulon), FranÃ§ois Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Mathieu Bastareaud (Toulon), Jean-Marcellin Buttin (Clermont), Vincent Clerc (Toulouse), Brice Dulin (Castres), Benjamin Fall (Racing-Metro), Gael Fickou (Toulouse), Wesley Fofana (Clermont), Florian Fritz (Toulouse), Yoann Huget (Toulouse), Maxime Mermoz (Toulon) – AFP