You are right I am being negative but the reason is that we have (I think at least) some very good players that play very well in the club, but for some years, we produced such crap international rugby that is is really really painful to watch.
Under Saint-André, all players seem to not know what to do with the ball, no game plan, poor attach except individual feats, poor technique, and nonexistent cohesion.
Noves was trying to change all on long term plan but Laporte king of the mafia interferred an placed his puppy Brunel to be able to control the French team. Brunel start was so crap it might even have been poorer than Saint André. With lievremont it was not so great, but we had players such as Servat Dusautoir Harinordoquy Nallet Yachvilli Rougerie that were guiding the team with true rugby spirit. Since them, seems like no real will to win was present...
However you are right, recently (this summer and the preparation matches) they seem to have began to play a little bit more rugby which is great news. U20 was/is high quality both in terms of players and games, why not possible on pro level? And the problem is more global, everytime there is a good game everyone is happy and erase the previous and global crap result but this doesn't solve the whole club/national team interactions and problems. But the preparation is a glimmer of hope even if the stage with Argentina and England will be hard.
I am negative on mostly Leroux tbh ; the rest of the selection seem (more or less logical). Lambey has been dropped probably because he lacks size but it is a good player have great spirit and is good in lineouts ; or as said he could have dropped leroux to take Cros in back row and put Iturria in 2nd (which is contrary to Brunel request to Clermont to make him change position but he is doing it anyway). Even Olivier Magne said Cros was destined to a great future in France's team, and it was quite a player.
Other main problem for me is Slimani, not him in itself because he is a good player except in defense, but mainly because he is too much penalized in games. Also some older players as Guirado, Picamoles are not up to their former "standard" but the competition (Aldritt/Ollivon and Chat/Mauvaka) might have done some good to them which is great.
I believe we have a good line of very complete and interesting players such as Dupont (huge attacking threat), Penaud (best back player), Ollivon Poirot and Iturria (very complete players), Chat (very strong but sometimes too crazy all over the place), Vahamaaina (if guided well) etc. It is good to have Medard on the back to guide the younger players, I hope the association Dupont/Ntamack will not be too targeted and lack experience, back row has a huge performance to do to protect them. Guirado/Poirot have to guide the pack in the right direction though.
On another side, Bastareaud was for me a different debate.
IMO it was a good player with some specific set of skills and a strong mindset, but never used in the position he should have been. Total nonsense to have it on outside centre in my point of view ; defending on 13 is really really hard and require to be quick and have speed to compensate and defend with the rest of the backline, which was not his strongest suit whereas obviously never suffered the front collision. Considering this, his size, power and skills on jacking the ball, it could have been really interesting to have him re-positioned on the blindside flank. Very similar profile as Steffon Armitage, but a lot more powerful and his previous knowledge of back position could have help him have an interesting game of passing creating gaps etc. Was mainly criticized on his weight but because mispositionned, which is a shame. I believe he's not a bad person and a bad player.
Upon reading all the teams and squads, it appeared to me that most team are really really competitive and that's really difficult to predict games. Australia has a very strong team, SA seem to have back some great games, AB are AB (despite IMO not having the best team ever), England is f*cking scary, and as outsiders other norther teams Ireland/Scotland/Wales (strong XV but maybe not enough bench for the whole competition), and pacific teams Japan/Fiji are quite contenders to make everyone revise their plans. Honestly not sure if France can pretend to be an outsider but in terms of player quality inherently, why not. I believe this world cup will be great to watch, lot of hard stages and competitive teams!