Kockott, Spedding retain France spots

2015-01-15 14:20
Rory Kockott (Gallo Images)

Paris - South African-born trio Rory Kockott, Scott Spedding and Bernard le Roux all maintained their places in France's initial 31-man squad ahead of the Six Nations.

Kockott and Spedding made their debuts during the November Tests with differing levels of success.

While Spedding has been embraced by the French public following a string of good performances, Kockott has endured a tough start to his international career, with many questioning his inclusion at the expense of French-born scrumhalves.

Meanwhile, coach Philippe Saint-Andre also called up Fijian wing Noa Nakaitaci. The 24-year-old has played his senior club rugby in France since moving to Clermont from the Nadroga academy in his homeland in 2010.

He was previously selected as part of the France squad that toured New Zealand in June 2013, although he only played in a match against the Blues and none of the three Tests.

"Nakaitaci can make a difference. He's progressed a huge amount and has played a lot this season," said Saint-Andre.

"He's becoming one of the best wing three-quarters in French rugby."

The 31-man group, which will convene in Caney-en-Roussillon in the Pyrenees region from January 25, also sees No 8 Louis Picamoles, props Eddy Ben Arous and Rabah Slimani, centre Remi Lamerat and Algerian-born wing Sofiane Guitoune earn recalls.

"Louis has been in great form for Toulouse," said Saint-Andre about Picamoles.

"We have three No 8s in the group (including Damien Chouly and Charles Ollivon) but they are three No 8s who can play at flanker and are powerful."

Racing-Metro fullback Brice Dulin is recalled after missing the November internationals through injury while Toulon lock Romain Taofifenua comes back in after suspension.

Those who've missed out, however, include hooker Dimitri Szarzewski, props Xavier Chiocci and Thomas Domingo, scrumhalves Morgan Parra and Maxime Machenaud, centre Maxime Mermoz, and wings Maxime Medard and Benjamin Fall.

France squad:

Forwards (17): Eddy Ben Arous (Racing-Metro), Alexandre Menini (Toulon), Benjamin Kayser (Clermont), Guilhem Guirado (Toulon), Nicolas Mas (Montpellier), Uini Atonio (La Rochelle), Rabah Slimani (Stade Francais), Alexandre Flanquart (Stade Francais), Yoann Maestri (Toulouse), Pascal Pape (Stade Francais), Romain Taofifenua (Toulon), Damien Chouly (Clermont), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse), Bernard Le Roux (Racing-Metro), Yannick Nyanga (Toulouse), Charles Ollivon (Bayonne), Louis Picamoles (Toulouse)

Backs (14): Rory Kockott (Castres), Sebastien Tillous-Borde (Toulon), Remi Tales (Castres), Camille Lopez (Clermont), Mathieu Bastareaud (Toulon), Wesley Fofana (Clermont), Remi Lamerat (Castres), Alexandre Dumoulin (Racing-Metro), Teddy Thomas (Racing-Metro), Sofiane Guitoune (Bordeaux-Begles), Yoann Huget (Toulouse), Noa Nakaitaci (Clermont), Brice Dulin (Racing-Metro), Scott Spedding (Bayonne)

Read more on:    six nations  |  rory kockott  |  scott spedding  |  rugby


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