France: Eight uncapped players named in squad while Paul Willemse returns for Six Nations title defence

France duo Romain Ntamack and Paul Willemse Credit: Alamy
France duo Romain Ntamack and Paul Willemse Credit: Alamy

France head coach Fabien Galthie has picked eight uncapped players in his squad, captained by Antoine Dupont, ahead of their Six Nations title defence.

Dupont retains the leadership role ahead of Charles Ollivon as Les Bleus look to back up 2022’s Grand Slam campaign in the year they host the World Cup.

Eight uncapped players

The new faces are Paul Boudehent, Louis Bielle-Biarrey, Romain Buros, Léo Coly, Julien Delbouis, Ethan Dumortier, Emilien Gailleton and Nolann Le Garrec.

Bielle-Biarrey and Gailleton are just 19 years of age and will understandably be delighted to have made the senior squad after impressing for their club sides.

Les Bleus’ forward options include stalwarts such as Gregory Alldritt, Cyril Baille, Sekou Macalou, Anthony Jelonch, Julien Marchand and Romain Taofifenua.

However, there is no place for Cameron Woki who is injured but his absence is cushioned somewhat by the returns of both Paul Willemse and Francois Cros.

There is also no sign of Australian-born second-row Emmanuel Meafou, who is in excellent form for Toulouse, as his wait for his French passport continues.

Maxime Lucu missing

An injury to Maxime Lucu means that Le Garrec and Coly act as back-up to Dupont while Matthieu Jalibert, Romain Ntamack and Antoine Hastoy are the 10s.

The Six Nations holders are also minus wing Gabin Villiere, hooker Peato Mauvaka, prop Jean-Baptise Gros and second-row Killian Geraci due to injury.

Other backline threats in the squad include Gaël Fickou, Melvyn Jaminet, Matthis Lebel, Yoram Moefana, Thomas Ramos and a recovering Damian Penaud.

France kick off their Six Nations defence at Italy on Sunday, February 5 before they head to Dublin to face title rivals Ireland on Saturday, February 11.

France squad for the Six Nations

Forwards: Grégory Alldritt, Uini Atonio, Cyril Baille, Gaëtan Barlot, Teddy Baubigny, Alexandre Becognee, Paul Boudehent, Yacouba Camara, Bastien Chalureau, Dylan Cretin, François Cros, Sipili Falatea, Thibaud Flament, Mohamed Haouas, Anthony Jelonch, Thomas Jolmes, Thomas Lavault, Sekou Macalou, Julien Marchand, Charles Ollivon, Dany Priso, Romain Taofifenua, Reda Wardi, Paul Willemse

Backs: Pierre-Louis Barassi, Louis Bielle-Biarrey, Romain Buros, Léo Coly, Julien Delbouis, Ethan Dumortier, Antoine Dupont, Gaël Fickou, Emilien Gailleton, Antoine Hastoy, Matthieu Jalibert, Melvyn Jaminet, Nolann Le Garrec, Matthis Lebel, Yoram Moefana, Romain Ntamack, Damian Penaud, Thomas Ramos

READ MORE: Six Nations: Ken Owens named captain by Warren Gatland as four uncapped players included in Wales squad

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