France select sevens flyer

France coach Guy Novès has sprung a surprise by naming Fijian-born sevens specialist Virimi Vakatawa in his Six Nations squad.

After a couple of training camps, Novès finalised a squad of 31 on Tuesday, with no place found for flyhalf François Trinh-Duc, South African-born flanker Bernard le Roux or centre Mathieu Bastareaud. Former Sharks scrumhalf Rory Kockott was previously left out of Novès's first 30-man squad and has not been able to force his way back in.

Vakatawa, who has impressed for France in the first two legs of the World Rugby Sevens Series, is the one interesting inclusion, with Toulon hooker Guilhem Guirado named as captain.

France open their Six Nations campaign against Italy on 6 February.

France Six Nations squad:
Forwards: Eddy Ben Arous, Jefferson Poirot, Guilhem Guirado (c), Camille Chat, Rabah Slimani, Uini Atonio, Yoann Maestri, Paul Jedrasiak, Sébastian Vahaamahina, Alexandre Flanquart, Wenceslas Lauret, Yacouba Camara, Kevin Gourdon, Louis Picamoles, Antoine Burban, Damien Chouly.
Backs: Sébastian Bézy, Morgan Parra, Maxime Machenaud, Jean-Marc Doussain, Jules Plisson, Alexandre Dumoulin, Wesley Fofana, Gaël Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Rémi Lamerat, Hugo Bonneval, Maxime Médard, Benjamin Fall, Scott Spedding, Virimi Vakatawa.
Photo: Francois Nel/Getty Images

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Craig Lewis