France include Sevens star Virimi Vakatawa in Six Nations squad
Last Updated: 19/01/16 4:57pm
France Sevens star Virimi Vakatawa is among the eight uncapped players named in Guy Noves' 31-man Six Nations squad.
Fiji-born centre Vakatawa, 23, who started his career at Racing 92, has established himself as a star of France's Sevens team and his explosive and versatile style caught the eye of Noves and his coaching staff.
"We tried to build a team which will allow us to work in continuity, with an eye to the next four years," said Noves.
Sebastien Bezy, Paul Jedrasiak, Yacouba Camara, Kevin Gourdon, Jefferson Poirot, Camille Chat and Jonathan Danty will also join the group at a training camp from January 25-27 before France open their Six Nations campaign against Italy on February 6.
The eight newcomers have already linked up with the team during group training sessions earlier this month.
Veteran fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc, still recovering from a shinbone injury, has been provisionally left out of the squad and replaced by Toulouse's Jean-Marc Doussain.
We want to build a team who will be able to improve a lot, and not taking players who would not be with us in two or three years.
"We had a discussion with Francois," said Noves. "He knew that his presence depended on his performances on the pitch. We know that Francois has resumed training very seriously."
The main surprise however was the inclusion of Stade Francais flanker Antoine Burban, also on the comeback trail after three months out injured.
Burban, 28, who has three caps, replaces South African-born flanker Bernard Le Roux, who is absent for personal reasons.
Toulon centre Mathieu Bastareaud has been omitted as Noves looks to rejuvenate a squad which exited last year's World Cup following a record defeat by New Zealand.
"We want to build a team who will be able to improve a lot, and not taking players who would not be with us in two or three years," said Noves.
"We want to make the French people who will support us happy.
"Mathieu Bastareaud's talent is obvious. He's not being left out because of a lack of talent but the true question is whether his profile fits our game plan."
"Don't expect too brilliant performances from the youngest players," warned forwards coach Yannick Bru.
"But Guy will not throw them all at once on to the field."
Forwards: Uini Atonio, Eddy Ben Arous, Andoine Burban, Yacouba Camara, Camille Chat, Damien Chouly, Alessandre Flanquart, Kevin Gourdon, Guilhem Guirado (captain), Paul Jedrasiak, Wenceslas Lauret, Yoann Maestri, Louis Picamoles, Jefferson Poirot, Rabah Slimani, Sebastien Vahaamahina.
Backs: Sebastien Bezy, Hugo Bonneval, Jonathan Danty, Jean-Marc Doussain, Alexandre Dumoulin, Benjamin Fall, Gael Fickou, Wesley Fofana, Remi Lamerat, Maxime Machenaud, Maxime Medard, Morgan Parra, Jules Plisson, Scott Spedding, Virimi Vakatawa.