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France name 7 uncapped players in a 42-man squad featuring Dupont

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

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France have named a squad of 42 for the upcoming Guinness Six Nations championship that includes scrum-half Antoine Dupont, seven uncapped players and a recall for out-of-favour winger Teddy Thomas and the fit-again Virimi Vakatawa. Recently voted World Rugby player of the year for 2021 after enjoying a double-winning season for Toulouse and a starring role for his country, Dupont has recently been absent with a knee injury. 

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However, the decision by Fabien Galthie to include him in his latest Test squad suggests Dupont will be ready for action when France play host to Italy in Paris on February 6. Dupont was a thorn in the All Blacks side when the French rouned off their Autumn Nations Series with a 100 per cent success rate following victories earlier that month over Argentina and Georgia. 

He has played twice for his club since then but hasn’t featured since a mesmerising December 11 performance in the Toulouse win over Cardiff in the opening round of the Heineken Champions Cup. Dupont is expected back in action in this weekend’s round four return game versus the Welsh region.     

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The seven uncapped players featuring in a squad of 23 forwards and 19 backs are prop Daniel Bibi Biziwu, locks Florian Verhaeghe and Florent Vanverberghe, flanker Yoan Tanga, fly-half Leo Berdeu and three-quarters Jules Favre and Tani Vili.

Charles Ollivon, the flanker who skippered France in the previous two Six Nations championships, has missed out as he continues to recover from a serious knee injury and there is every likelihood that Dupont will now continue as captain, the role he filled in the autumn when Ollivon was marked absent.

Bordeaux fly-half Matthieu Jalibert has not been included but will be pushing hard to return from a thigh injury in time to prove his fitness and force a way back into the reckoning. Racing flyers Virimi Vakatawa and Teddy Thomas have squeezed back into the picture, however. Lock Bernard Le Roux who could pass 50 caps in this year’s competition, is one of just four players over the age of 30.

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FRANCE 2022 GUINNESS SIX NATIONS SQUAD
FORWARDS (23): Gregory Alldritt, Uini Atonio, Cyril Baille, Demba Bamba, Gaetan Barlot, Daniel Bibi Biziwu, Dylan Cretin, Francois Cros, Ibrahim Diallo, Thibaud Flament, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Mohamed Haouas, Anthony Jelonch, Bernard Le Roux, Sekou Macalou, Julien Marchand, Peato Mauvaka, Yoan Tanga, Romain Taofifenua, Florent Vanverberghe, Florian Verhaeghe, Paul Willemse, Cameron Woki;

BACKS (19): Leo Berdeu, Baptiste Couilloud, Jonathan Danty, Brice Dulin, Antoine Dupont, Jules Favre, Gael Fickou, Antoine Hastoy, Melvyn Jaminet, Matthis Lebel, Maxime Lucu, Yoram Moefana, Romain Ntamack, Damian Penaud, Thomas Ramos, Teddy Thomas, Virimi Vakatawa, Tani Vili, Gabin Villiere.

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