Saracens centre/full-back Thomas Castaignede and London Irish flanker Olivier Magne have both been left out of France's squad for the World Cup.
Castaignede had planned to retire after the World Cup
Toulouse's Clement Poitrenaud is the only specialist full-back included.
But Sale number eight Sebastien Chabal makes the squad, and is being taken as a possible back-up option at lock.
Pascal Pape, skipper for the recent New Zealand tour, misses out. A decision on whether Fabien Pelous or Raphael Ibanez will be captain has yet to be made.
Pelous, who has 110 caps, is back after missing the Six Nations with an ankle injury, but Ibanez has impressed leading the side in his absence.
"We'll decide at the start of the World Cup who will be captain," said team manager Jo Maso.
Castaignede, who has won 54 caps, may have played his last game of rugby in France's record 61-10 defeat to the All Blacks recently.
He announced last month that he was retiring from club rugby but hoped to play in the World Cup before quitting entirely.
He missed the 1999 World Cup because of injury and was out of favour in 2003.
"It was a difficult decision to make leaving Thomas on the sidelines," Maso said.
"But our decision wasn't based on his performances in New Zealand, it was based on the performances of other players.
"Thomas has not played much this season because of injuries and has not been able to express himself."
Either Christope Dominici or Cedric Heymans will be the alternative full-back if any misfortune befalls Poitrenaud.
Magne, who won his 90th cap in New Zealand, also misses out on selection but is among a list of 11 players on a reserve list, which does not include Castaignede.
Coach Bernard Laporte has included prop Sylvain Marconnet, who is still recovering from a broken leg sustained skiing during the Six Nations.
Laporte has selected 17 forwards and 13 backs, with Frederic Michalak one of three fly-halves including Stade Francais duo David Skrela and Lionel Beauxis, who both featured in this year's Six Nations.
Michalak will also cover at scrum-half where Dimitri Yachvili, who played against England in the 2007 Six Nations, misses out.
Centre Florian Fritz, who was Yannick Jauzion's regular midfield partner last year, is another established name to be left out.
Laporte revealed that after a chat with Chabal, the Sale back-row "seems fired up by the possibility of playing second row".
Hosts France open the tournament against Argentina on 7 September.
World Cup squad:
Forwards: S Marconnet, P De Villiers (both Stade Francais), O Milloud (Bourgoin), J-B Poux (Toulouse), R Ibanez (Wasps), S Bruno (Sale), D Szarzewski (Stade Francais), F Pelous (Toulouse), L Nallet (Castres), J Thion (Biarritz), S Chabal (Sale), S Betsen, I Harinordoquy (both Biarritz), J Bonnaire (Bourgoin), E Vermeulen (Clermont-Auvergne), R Martin (Stade Francais), Y Nyanga (Toulouse).
Backs: P Mignoni (Clermont-Auvergne), J-B Elissalde (Toulouse), D Skrela, L Beauxis (Stade Francais), F Michalak, Y Jauzion (both Toulouse), D Traille (Biarritz), D Marty (Perpignan), C Dominici (Stade Francais), C Heymans, V Clerc (Toulouse), A Rougerie (Clermont-Auvergne), C Poitrenaud (Toulouse).
Reserve list: Benjamin Kayser, Laurent Emmanuelli, Nicolas Mas, Pascal Pape, Gregory Lamboley, Thierry Dusautoir, Olivier Magne, Dimitri Yachvili, Benjamin Boyet, Brian Liebenberg, Jean-Philippe Grandclaude.