• France call on Kockott

    Castres scrumhalf Rory Kockott is among an extended squad of 74 players selected by French coach Philippe Saint-André for the end-of-year Tests.

    Kockott is one of 10 foreign players selected who may be eligible to play for France at next year's World Cup. Fellow South Africans Francois van der Merwe and Scott Spedding have also been included, as has Toulon back rower Steffon Armitage.

    Armitage, who played five Tests for England between 2009 and 2010, will need to apply for a French passport and compete in an Olympic qualifying tournament in order to become eligible for selection, according to new IRB guidelines.

    Speaking following the announcement, Pierre Camou, president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR), said the foreign members will bring competition to the squad.

    'We need fighters. Players to compete in every position. These players will need to make their declaration of love to France.' he said.

    The squad consists of 30 players currently contracted by the FFR, as well as a further 30, most of whom have already played for the national team. The final four players are currently injured, but will be considered for duty once they've recovered.

    10 foreign players (and their country of origin)

    Uini Atonio (Samoa), Francois van der Merwe (South Africa), Steffon Armitage (Trinidad and Tobago/England), Alex Tulou (Samoa), Rory Kockott (South Africa), Brock James (Australia), Blair Connor (Australia), Noa Nakaitaci (Fiji), David Smith (Samoa), Scott Spedding (South Africa).

    Photo: Remy Gabalda/AFP Photo