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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 12 December, 2018

France include sevens sensation Vakatawa in Six Nations training squad

Guy Novès has revitalised les Bleus’ squad with a number of uncapped youngsters.

NEW FRANCE COACH Guy Novès has named Fiji-born sevens specialist Virimi Vakatawa in his 31-man training squad for the Six Nations.

23-year-old Vakatawa previously played with Racing 92 in the Top 14 from 2011 until 2013, before signing a sevens deal with the FFR. The flying wing has since gone on to become one of the leading sevens players in the world.

France Rugby European Cup Vakatawa in Racing colours back in 2011. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Novès has now invited the 6’1″ wide man back into the 15-man code ahead of the Six Nations, as France look to add cutting edge out wide. It is believed that Vakatawa will also pen a club contract in union for next season, with the likes of Toulon and Racing chasing his signature.

The 31-man France training squad – which will convene at Marcoussis from 25 January until 27 January for a pre-Six Nations training camp – also includes the uncapped Yacouba Camara, Camille Chat, Kevin Gourdon, Paul Jedrasiak, Jefferson Poirot, Sébastien Bezy and Jonathan Danty.

Having been omitted from the two recent training weekends under Novès, Toulon centre Mathieu Bastareaud is perhaps the highest-profile player to miss out.

The former Toulouse boss has also left François Trinh-Duc out of the training group, the Montpellier man not having played since November due to a tibia injury, with Jean-Marc Doussain selected as a second out-half alongside Stade Français playmaker Jules Plisson.

The likes of barrelling Stade Français centre Danty [23], clever Toulouse scrum-half Bezy [24], mobile Clermont lock Jedrasiak [22] and dynamic Toulouse back row Camara [21] will all back themselves to make an impact on the Six Nations, as Novès looks to usher in a new era of French rugby.

31-man France Six Nations training squad:

Props: Uini Atonio, Rabah Slimani, Jefferson Poirot, Eddy Ben Arous

Hookers: Guilhem Guirado (captain), Camille Chat,

Locks: Sébastien Vahaamahina, Paul Jedrasiak, Yoann Maestri, Alexandre Flanquart,

Back rows: Antoine Burban, Yacouba Camara, Damien Chouly, Wenceslas Lauret, Louis Picamoles, Kevin Gourdon

Halfbacks: Morgan Parra, Sébastien Bezy, Maxime Machenaud, Jean-Marc Doussain, Jules Plisson

Centres: Jonathan Danty, Alexandre Dumoulin, Rémi Lamerat, Gaël Fickou, Wesley Fofana [may play on the wing]

Back threes: Scott Spedding, Hugo Bonneval, Virimi Vakatawa, Maxime Médard, Benjamin Fall.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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