France name 10 rookies for 6N opener

Date published: January 29 2016

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France coach Guy Novès has named his 31-man squad for next week's Six Nations opener against Italy at the Stade de France.

Novès has included ten uncapped players. Clermont scrum-half Morgan Parra and Montpellier fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc are notable absentees but Sébastien Vahaamahina and Vincent Pelo have been called up to rejoin the Les Bleus. 

Clermont lock Vahaamahina missed training this week but has recovered from a knee problem and replaces Bernard Le Roux – who is getting married this weekend.

La Rochelle prop Pelo rejoins the France team after being called up to their second preparatory squad before the Championship.

Novès has also opted to retain Montpellier wing Marvin O'Connor and Toulon centre Maxime Mermoz – who were both called up this week following injuries to Benjamin Fall and Alexandre Dumoulin.

In-form Toulouse playmaker Jean-Marc Doussain is preferred to Trinh-Duc while Parra is injured.

And speaking at the Six Nations launchin London on Wednesday, new skipper Guilhem Guirado outlined the plan to restore France to their former glories.

"This event is the perfect launchpad for our RBS 6 Nations campaign," he said.

"The players all now realise that our first game against the Italians is only a week away and we know it will be a big match."

France squad:

Forwards: Uini Atonio (La Rochelle), Eddy Ben Arous (Racing 92), Vincent Pelo (La Rochelle), Jefferson Poirot (Bordeaux-Bègles), Rabah Slimani (Stade Français), Camille Chat (Racing 92), Guilhem Guirado (Toulon) (c), Alexandre Flanquart (Stade Français), Paul Jedrasiak (Clermont Auvergne), Yoann Maestri (Toulouse), Sébastien Vahaamahina (Clermont Auvergne), Antoine Burban (Stade Français), Yacouba Camara (Toulouse), Damien Chouly (Clermont), Kevin Gourdon (La Rochelle), Wenceslas Lauret (Racing 92), Louis Picamoles (Toulouse).

Backs: Sébastien Bézy (Toulouse), Maxime Machenaud (Racing 92), Jean-Marc Doussain (Toulouse), Jules Plisson (Stade Français), Jonathan Danty (Stade Français), Gaël Fickou (Toulouse), Wesley Fofana (Clermont Auvergne), Rémi Lamerat (Castres), Maxime Mermoz (Toulon), Hugo Bonneval (Stade Français), Maxime Médard (Toulouse), Marvin O'Connor (Montpellier), Scott Spedding (Clermont Auvergne), Virimi Vakatawa (FFR).

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