World Player of the Year Antoine Dupont has been named in France’s Six Nations squad by head coach Fabien Galthie despite not having played since 11 December.
The France skipper missed holders Toulouse’s European Champions Cup defeat by Wasps this past weekend with an unspecified injury.
The 25-year-old scrumhalf had missed Toulouse’s previous Top 14 match due to ‘fatigue’.
However, while he is included, Top 14 leaders Bordeaux-Begles flyhalf Matthieu Jalibert is omitted due to a thigh injury, which will sideline him for a fortnight.
If fit, Dupont will team up with Toulouse flyhalf Romain Ntamack in the same partnership that sparkled in the 40-25 victory over New Zealand last November.
France, who finished runners-up last year, are seeking their first Six Nations title since 2010 and get their campaign under way at home to Italy.
Galthie has included seven uncapped players in the 42-man squad, who as preparation for the Italy game will be staying at a Foreign Legion barracks in the south-east of France and training nearby.
The 20-year-old Clermont prop Daniel Bibi Biziwu is the big surprise among the new faces.
His fellow Test rookies are Racing 92 back-row forward Yoan Tanga, La Rochelle’s utility back Jules Favre, Clermont centre Tani Vili, Lyon flyhalf Leo Berdeu and second-row duo Florian Verhaeghe and Florent Vanverberghe from Montpellier and Castres, respectively.
🔜 #SixNations 2022 🏆
— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) January 18, 2022