Paris, France, April 14, 2016 – France men’s coach Laurent Tillie has named a largely familiar squad to attend a training camp ahead of the 2016 World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Japan from May 28-June 5 and the FIVB Volleyball World League.
The 19 players include most of the players that claimed the FIVB Volleyball World League 2015 and 2015 European Championship, with World League MVP Earvin Ngapeth and captain and World League Best Setter Benjamin Toniutti both featuring.
Trevor Clevenot and Hubert Henno return to the squad, while Pierre Boyer, Antoine Brizard and Horacio D'Almeida have all earned call-ups for the first time.
Boyer, 20, was the fourth highest scorer in France this season and was a part of the team that participated in last year's FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship in Mexico. His good form has been rewarded, as has Antoine Brizard’s and Horacio D'Almeida’s.
"D'Almeida had a great championship and Boyer explodes on counters, we did not expect necessarily that a young player performs that quickly, and Brizard has made significant progress this year,” Tillie explained. “These are all players that we want to see every day.”
With some of the squad still involved in the club season – Ngapeth and libero Jenia Grebennikov have unfinished business in Italy with DHL Modena Volley and Cucine Lube Civitanova respectively while Nicolas Le Goff still has a few games to go with Berlin Recycling Volley in the German league – Tillie has named a large group to give him enough players to train with.
"As soon as they [the missing players] are eliminated, players will have a short week of rest, probably less for those who will join us the last, before resuming training,” the 52-year-old said. “Having a larger group will allow me to work.”
"There is a big competition with Marshal, Tillie, Ngapeth and Lyneel [on the Outside],” Tillie said, adding that having more depth in the Libero position with the reintroduction of Hubert Henno can only strengthen the side’s cause.
"For the experience and the great season Henno has had, he agreed to accompany us in case something happens to Jenia Grebennikov.”
The side will meet up on April 25 in Montpellier for two weeks, with Tillie conscious that many of his players will be coming off the back of a long club season.
“The important thing is that they find the common style of the France team, they resume the habits we have established for almost four years and found our automation,” he said.
The preparation will continue from May 9 in Tourcoing where the team will face Iran on May 13 and 14.
"A lot of teams have approached us, we chose Iran first because they are a competitor at the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Japan and a team we have not played for a long time [Men’s World Championship 2014] and because they have a very interesting style of play, with a lot of speed, technique and power,” Tillie said when asked to explain why Iran was chosen.
The team will then fly to Japan on May 19 nine days ahead of the World Olympic Qualification Tournament where they will have one last chance at earning a berth for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games having missed out at the European Olympic Qualification Tournament in Berlin, Germany in January where they finished second, losing to Russia in four sets in the final.
1. Aguenier Jonas 28/04/92 AS Cannes Central
2. Grebennikov Jénia 13/08/90 AS Volley Lube (ITA) Libero
4. Rouzier Antonin 18/08/86 Arksspor Izmir (TUR) Pointu
5. Clévenot Trevor 28/06/1994 Toulouse R/A
6. Toniutti Benjamin 30/10/89 Kedzierzyn-Kozle (POL) Passeur
7. Tillie Kevin 02/11/90 Kedzierzyn-Kozle (POL) R/A
8. Brizard Antoine 22/05/94 Spacer's Toulouse passeur
9. Ngapeth Earvin 12/02/91 Modena (ITA) R/A
10. Le Roux Kevin 11/05/89 Halkbank Ankara (TUR) Central
11. Lyneel Julien 15/04/90 Resovia (POL) R/A
12. Boyer Pierre Jean Stephen 10/04/96 Chaumont VB 52 pointu
13 Pujol Pierre 13/07/84 AS Cannes Passeur
14. Le Goff Nicolas 15/02/92 Berlin (GER) Central
15. D'Almeida Horacio 11/06/88 Chaumont VB 52 Central
16. Marechal Nicolas 04/03/87 Belchatow (POL) R/A
17. Lafitte Franck 08/03/89 Arago de Sète Central
18. Rossard Thibault 28/08/1993 Arago de Sète R/A
21. Sidibe Mory 17/06/87 Palembang Bank SunselBabel (Indonésie) Pointu
22. Henno Hubert 06/10/1976 Tours VB libero