Kockott, Spedding in France squad

South African-born duo Rory Kockott and Scott Spedding have been included in France's initial 31-man squad ahead of the Six Nations.

Both players made their debut during the November Tests with differing levels of success. While Spedding has been embraced by the French public following a string of good performances, Kockott has endured a tough start to his international career, with many questioning his inclusion at the expense of French-born scrumhalves.

Kockott has been preferred along with Toulon scrumhalf Sébastien Tillous-Borde, with Clermont scrumhalf Morgan Parra the notable omission by coach Philippe Saint-André.

Elsewhere, there are recalls for Louis Picamoles, Eddy Ben Arous and Rabah Slimani, while Fulgence Ouedraogo, Maxime Mermoz and Maxime Médard all drop out of the squad.

Saint-André explained his decision behind naming such a large initial squad.

'We made the choice to have two teams of 15 to work with during our initial training in Canet en Roussillon,' he said. 'We wanted to keep a strong core of established players.'

France will begin their Six Nations campaign against Scotland at the Stade de France on 7 February, before travelling to Ireland to face the defending champions in their second match.

France squad:

Forwards – Eddy Ben Arous, Alexandre Menini, Benjamin Kayser, Guilhem Guirado, Nicolas Mas, Uini Atonio, Rabah Slimani, Alexandre Flanquart, Yoann Maestri, Pascal Papé, Romain Taofifenua, Damien Chouly, Thierry Dusautoir, Bernard Le Roux, Yannick Nyanga, Charles Ollivon, Louis Picamoles.
Backs – Rory Kockott, Sébastien Tillous-Borde, Rémi Tales, Camille Lopez, Mathieu Bastareaud, Wesley Fofana, Rémi Lamerat, Alexandre Dumoulin, Teddy Thomas, Sofiane Guitoune, Yoann Huget, Noa Nakaitaci, Brice Dulin, Scott Spedding.

FEATURE: Kockott's cold reception

FEATURE: Spedding loved like a local

Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images