Former Junior Boks and Bulls lock Paul Willemse has been included in France’s 31-man Six Nations squad.
Willemse left South Africa to play for French Top 14 club Grenoble in 2014 and joined Montpellier in 2015.
He was expected to make his Test debut for France last November, having served the three-year residential period, but French Rugby Federation president Bernard Laporte insisted that possession of a French passport was a requirement for the national team.
Willemse received his passport at the end of November and announced that he had extended his Montpellier contract until 2022.
‘The Springboks didn’t need me and I don’t need them. My life is now in France,’ said the 26-year-old.
Willemse is one of five uncapped players in the squad. The others are Toulouse backs Romain Ntamack and Thomas Ramos, prop Dorian Aldegheri and La Rochelle loose forward Gregory Alldritt.
Forwards: Jefferson Poirot, Dany Priso, Guilhem Guirado, Pierre Bourgarit, Julien Marchand, Uini Atonio, Demba Bamba, Dorian Aldegheri, Félix Lambey, Sébastien Vahaamahina, Bernard Le Roux, Paul Willemse, Arthur Iturria, Wenceslas Lauret, Yacouba Camara, Gregory Alldritt, Louis Picamoles.
Backs: Morgan Parra, Antoine Dupont, Baptiste Serin, Camille Lopez, Anthony Belleau, Wesley Fofana, Mathieu Bastareaud, Geoffrey Doumayrou, Romain Ntamack, Gael Fickou, Yoann Huget, Damian Penaud, Maxime Medard, Thomas Ramos
Photo: Alexandre Dimou/Getty Images