France hooker Mauvaka to miss start of Six Nations

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France hooker Peato Mauvaka will miss at least the start of the Six Nations after undergoing surgery on a broken finger.

The 26-year-old has been capped 18 times by France and was used in all five matches in last year's tournament, which France won to end their 12-year wait for the trophy.

However, Mauvaka is now in a race against time to play a part in this year's edition due to an injury sustained in club side Toulouse's loss to La Rochelle in the Top 14 last weekend.

France head coach Fabien Galthie indicated on Tuesday that Mauvaka would be out for around three weeks, but his lay-off looks set to extend beyond then.

Providing an update on Wednesday, Toulouse coach Ugo Mola said: "Peato will be operated on this Friday. His absence will unfortunately be longer than three weeks."

France begin their Six Nations defence against Italy on February 5 – three and a half weeks' time – and have a difficult trip to Ireland six days later.

Galthie's men then face Scotland on February 26 and England on March 11, before concluding their campaign at home to Wales on March 18.