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Eight new faces named in France squad

Fabien Galthié France

Fabien Galthié has called on eight uncapped players in his France squad as they look to defend the Guinness Six Nations title they won in such style a year ago.

Les Bleus claimed a first Grand Slam in 12 years, and will now look to back that up after a calendar year in which they won all ten matches they played.

Galthié has had to contend with a number of injuries, including Cameron Woki, who was ruled out with a wrist injury.

Hooker Peato Mauvaka, the only player to have featured in each game of France’s current 13-match winning streak, is another who is absent, as are scrum-halves Maxime Lucu and Baptiste Couilloud and centre Jonathan Danty.

And the majority of the new faces are in the backline, including a pair of 19-year-olds who could be in line for their first caps.

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Emilien Gailleton (below, right) captained France Under-20s in 2022, and is currently the second top try-scorer in the Top 14 for Pau. The centre is joined by fellow teenager Louis Bielle-Biarrey, the Bordeaux-Bègles winger or full-back.

However it is at scrum-half where there is most likely to be a first cap, with Montpellier’s Léo Coly and Racing 92’s Nolann Le Garrec battling it out to back up skipper Antoine Dupont.

Read more: 20 days to go – from Under-20s to senior success

The other uncapped players in the squad are flanker Paul Boudehent, centre Julien Delbouis and back three players Romain Buros and Ethan Dumortier, the top try-scorer in the Top 14.

While the injury list is extensive, Galthié is still able to call on the majority of players who led France to the Grand Slam last season, with François Cros, Uini Atonio and Damian Penaud all expected to be fit by the time the Championship kicks off – France open their campaign away in Italy on February 5.

France will prepare for the Guinness Six Nations with a training camp in Capbreton in the Landes region.

France squad for the 2023 Guinness Six Nations

Forwards: Cyril Baille (Toulouse), Dany Priso (Toulon), Reda Wardi (La Rochelle) ; Uini Atonio (La Rochelle), Sipili Falatea (Bordeaux-Bègles), Mohamed Haouas (Montpellier), Gaëtan Barlot (Castres), Teddy Baubigny (Toulon), Julien Marchand (Toulouse), Bastien Chalureau (Montpellier), Thibaud Flament (Toulouse), Romain Taofifenua (Lyon), Thomas Lavault (La Rochelle), Paul Willemse (Montpellier), Thomas Jolmès (Bordeaux-Bègles), Grégory Alldritt (La Rochelle), Alexandre Bécognée (Montpellier), Dylan Cretin (Lyon), François Cros (Toulouse), Anthony Jelonch (Toulouse), Sekou Macalou (Stade français), Charles Ollivon (Toulon), Yacouba Camara (Montpellier), Paul Boudehent (La Rochelle)

Backs: Antoine Dupont (Toulouse), Nolann Le Garrec (Racing 92), Léo Coly (Montpellier), Antoine Hastoy (La Rochelle), Matthieu Jalibert (Bordeaux-Bègles), Romain Ntamack (Toulouse), Julien Delbouis (Stade français), Gaël Fickou (Racing 92), Emilien Gailleton (Pau), Yoram Moefana (Bordeaux-Bègles), Pierre-Louis Barassi (Toulouse), Romain Buros (Bordeaux-Bègles), Melvyn Jaminet (Toulouse), Matthis Lebel (Toulouse), Damian Penaud (Clermont), Thomas Ramos (Toulouse), Ethan Dumortier (Lyon), Louis Bielle-Biarrey (Bordeaux-Bègles).