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Dupont returns as France get big guns back for opener

Antoine Dupont

Antoine Dupont is one of 14 players who will join up with France after being announced in the latest squad to prepare for the Guinness Six Nations opener against Italy.

The France scrum-half and captain had to withdraw from the initial squad after testing positive for Covid, along with a number of his teammates.

But he made his return to action with Toulouse on Saturday and now rejoins the squad ahead of that first game against Italy at the Stade de France on February 6.

He is joined by Toulouse teammates Romain Ntamack, Anthony Jelonch, François Cros and Cyril Baille, all of whom started the win over New Zealand in the Autumn Nations Series.

Tighthead prop Uini Atonio, who also started against the All Blacks, is also back after recovering from injury, while Matthieu Jalibert takes his place having recovered from a thigh injury that had been bothering him.

The remaining players called up are Castres hooker Gaëtan Barlot, Racing 92 lock Bernard Le Roux, La Rochelle pair Paul Boudehent and Jules Favre, Clermont centre Tani Vili and wingers Matthis Lebel of Toulouse, and Donovan Taofifénua of Racing 92.

The latter is called up in place of club colleague Teddy Thomas who suffered a hamstring strain in camp last week.

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The France players recalled:

Uini ATONIO (Stade Rochelais, 39 caps)
Cyril BAILLE (Stade Toulousain, 31 caps)
Gaëtan BARLOT (Castres Olympique, 4 caps)
Paul BOUDEHENT (Stade Rochelais, 0 caps)
François CROS (Stade Toulousain, 11 caps)
Anthony JELONCH (Stade Toulousain, 14 caps)
Bernard LE ROUX (Racing 92, 47 caps)
Antoine DUPONT (Stade Toulousain, 35 caps)
Jules FAVRE (Stade Rochelais, 0 caps)
Matthieu JALIBERT (Union Bordeaux Bègles, 13 caps)
Matthis LEBEL (Stade Toulousain, 1 cap)
Romain NTAMACK (Stade Toulousain, 23 caps)
Donovan TAOFIFÉNUA (Racing 92, 0 caps)
Tani VILI (ASM Clermont Auvergne, 0 caps)