Just one fly-half named in French Six Nations squad

France head coach Marc Lievremont has named just one recognised fly-half in his provisional 30-man squad for a three-day training camp ahead of the RBS 6 Nations Championship.

France head coach Marc Lievremont has named just one recognised fly-half in his provisional 30-man squad for a three-day training camp ahead of the RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Lionel Beauxis is the only out-and-out number 10 included, with David Skrela not fit, Francois Trinh-Duc out of form and Frederic Michalak yet to rediscover his best level following his return to Toulouse after a year with South African outfit the Sharks.

Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, one of three scrum-halves named in Lievremont’s enlarged group, will act as cover at fly-half.

Elissalde played at number 10 for Toulouse for large parts of last season although he is more comfortable as a scrum-half.

Elsewhere, Toulouse backs Clement Poitrenaud and Florian Fritz return to the squad after spells in the wilderness while winger Aurelien Rougerie is also back after injury.

However, Vincent Clerc, France’s leading try-scorer in last season’s Six Nations, has not been called up as he continues to get his match sharpness back after a lengthy absence because of a knee injury.

Perpignan’s Maxime Mermoz, who has just one cap to his name, is one of four centres included.

There are few surprises in the forwards, except maybe the drafting-in of Damien Chouly, the Perpignan flanker.

With Imanol Harinordoquy on his way back from injury and not included, fellow versatile back-row forward Julien Bonnaire – overlooked by Lievremont for the autumn internationals – returns.

There is no room for number eight Elvis Vermeulen, Bonnaire’s team-mate at Clermont-Auvergne.

The squad will take part in a training camp at their base in Marcoussis from January 26-28, after which Lievremont will trim the group to 23 ahead of France’s opening match of the Six Nations, against Ireland on February 7.

France’s provisional 30-man training-camp squad:

Backs: Maxime Medard, Clement Poitrenaud, Cedric Heymans (all Toulouse), Alexis Palisson (Brive), Julien Malzieu, Aurelien Rougerie (both Clermont-Auvergne), Yannick Jauzion, Florian Fritz (both Toulouse), Benoit Baby (Clermont-Auvergne), Maxime Mermoz (Perpignan), Lionel Beauxis (Stade Francais), Jean-Baptiste Elissalde (Toulouse), Sebastien Tillous-Borde (Castres), Morgan Parra (Bourgoin).

Forwards: Julien Bonnaire (Clermont-Auvergne), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse), Fulgence Ouedraogo, Louis Picamoles (both Montpellier), Damien Chouly (Perpignan), Sebastien Chabal (Sale), Lionel Nallet (Castres), Romain Millo-Chluski (Toulouse), Jerome Thion (Biarritz), Guilhem Guirado (Perpignan), Benjamin Kayser (Leicester), Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Francais), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Lionel Faure (Sale), Fabien Barcella (Biarritz), Fabien Lecouls (Toulouse).

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