France head coach Philippe Saint-André has named four uncapped players in his 30-man training squad for the 2014 Six Nations.
Three of these uncapped players come from Stade Français – fly-half Jules Plisson (above), fullback Hugo Bonneval and flanker Antoine Burban – while the other is Castres fullback Geoffrey Palis.
Plisson’s inclusion is quite a leap from PSA, given that he is one of only two out and out fly-halves in the squad, along with Rémi Talès. His inclusion means there is no place in the squad for either François Trinh-Duc or marmite man Freddie Michalak.
There are some important injury absentees, with Morgan Parra, Camille Lopez, Florian Fritz and Vincent Clerc all currently sidelined. The squad will meet up for a three-day training camp at Canet-en-Roussillon on the French south coast, instead of their usual Marcoussis base, in order to take advantage of the nicer weather – although after the conditions last year’s tournament was played out in, you have to question the wisdom of that decision.
The squad will be trimmed to 23 players on 22nd January, ahead of their opening fixture against England in Paris a week later.
Extended French training squad for Six Nations:
Forwards: Thomas Domingo (Clermont), Yannick Forestier (Castres), Benjamin Kayser (Clermont), Dimitri Szarzewski (Racing-Métro), Nicolas Mas (Montpellier), Rabah Slimani (Stade Français), Alexandre Flanquart (Stade Français), Yoann Maestri (Toulouse), Pascal Papé (Stade Français), Sébastien Vahaamahina (Perpignan), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse, cap), Bernard Le Roux (Racing-Métro), Yannick Nyanga (Toulouse), Damien Chouly (Clermont), Louis Picamoles (Toulouse).
Backs: Jean-Marc Doussain (Toulouse), Maxime Machenaud (Racing-Métro), Jules Plisson (Stade Français), Rémi Talès (Castres), Mathieu Bastareaud (Toulon), Gaël Fickou (Toulouse), Wesley Fofana (Clermont), Maxime Mermoz (Toulon), Sofiane Guitoune (Perpignan), Yoann Huget (Toulouse), Maxime Médard (Toulouse), Geoffrey Palis (Castres), Hugo Bonneval (Stade Français), Brice Dulin (Castres).