10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
The veteran lock, who also captains European champions Toulouse, claims the players have been overlooked in a new league set-up which could involve 10 extra matches a season in the first year when the two pools are combined to a 16-club league. "If we have to strike, then we will," he told l'Equipe sports daily.
"We are not opposed to a single pool, it's just the fixture list that has been produced. If being a professional player means clocking in at the factory every day then I don't want any part of it."
The French players' union meets on Thursday to draw up its response to League president Serge Blanco's plans for a 16-club championship in 2004/2005 and a 14-club league for the three following years.
Reports say the players might consider boycotting next season's European Cup. The French Rugby Federation has already said the National Rugby League (LNR) proposals have to take into account the Test calendar.
France play the United States and Canada in June and head coach Bernard Laporte wants a full-strength squad. Club coaches are furious at the idea of their senior players being forced to play two "meaningless" Tests but Pelous has defended Laporte.
"As an international player you wants to honour your country in every Test," he said.
The FFR said a new club fixture list would have to take into account the France Test side's commitments, the players' physical well-being and the financial viability of clubs.
Officials from the FFR, LNR and players' union were scheduled to meet on Friday to review the project.
AFP - 2004.