France call up two new caps
Philippe Saint-Andre (File)
Marcoussis - France manager Philippe Saint-Andre named uncapped lock Yoann Maestri and centre Wesley Fofana on Thursday in his squad for the opening Six Nations championship match against Italy.
Saint-Andre, who took over from Marc Lievremont after last year's World Cup, included 17 players from the squad who lost the final against hosts New Zealand by a point, including 14 of the starting lineup.
"It is quite coherent. Alexis Palisson (the only World Cup final starter to be omitted) can be disappointed but we have players who are in great form like Beauxis and Malzieu," Saint-Andre told a news conference.
"We will try to use the World Cup squad as a starting point and gradually include some young players with great potential, hoping they will become regulars in four years."
Prop David Attoub, who was not been named in the initial 30-man squad this month, was a surprise inclusion for the Italy game at the Stade de France on Feb. 4 because of Luc Ducalcon's lack of match time with Castres.
"He (Ducalcon) has only played 25 minutes with his club. We wanted to include Attoub, who is a regular starter with Stade Francais as a tighthead prop. And we know the Italians' scrum is very good," said Saint-Andre. Attoub won his only cap in June 2006.
Backs - Morgan Parra, Dimitri Yachvili, François Trinh-Duc, Lionel Beauxis, Aurelien Rougerie, Maxime Mermoz, Wesley Fofana, Vincent Clerc, Julien Malzieu, Maxime Medard.
Forwards - David Attoub, Vincent Debaty, Nicolas Mas, Jean-Baptiste Poux, William Servat, Dimitri Szarzewski, Pascal Pape, Yoann Maestri, Lionel Nallet, Julien Bonnaire, Thierry Dusautoir, Louis Picamoles, Imanol Harinordoquy