New France coach Fabien Galthie named a young 42-man squad spearheaded by Charles Ollivon for this year’s Six Nations, featuring 19 uncapped players.
Toulon back-row Ollivon, who has played just 11 times for France, has battled injury throughout his career but made three impressive appearances for France during the Rugby World Cup in Japan, scoring once against Wales.
The young squad — with all but one under 30-year-old — means there is no room for experienced internationals such as Maxime Medard, Yoann Huget, Camille Lopez, Maxime Machenaud or Rabah Slimani.
🏆 Voici les 42 joueurs retenus pour préparer le Tournoi des #SixNations 2020 !
Les Bleus débutent leur préparation à Nice le 19 Janvier et vous donnent rendez-vous le dimanche 2 février au Stade de France contre l’Angleterre à 16h !#NeFaisonsXV #XVdeFrance pic.twitter.com/a8AJ4PjSh9
— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) January 8, 2020
The list of newcomers includes Lyon lock Killian Geraci, Clermont Auvergne back-row forward Alexandre Fischer, plus backs Maxime Lucu, Louis Carbonel and Arthur Vincent.
“We focused on the strengths we had without solely focusing on England. Our choices are balanced with an average age of 24. We are aware that it’s a young and inexperienced squad,” Galthie told a news conference on Wednesday.
“We want to give these players the desire to become a great nation of rugby again.”
World U20 champions Cameron Woki and Jean-Baptiste Gros were also included.
“Fabien called me when I was at home. It was a special moment. I look forward to starting this new adventure.”
France finished fourth in last year’s Six Nations and lost to Wales by a point in the World Cup quarterfinals.
Former French international Galthie replaced Jacques Brunel as head coach after the World Cup. His first match in charge will come against World Cup finalists England on Feb. 2.
France 2020 Six Nation’s Squad
Dorian Aldegheri (Toulouse), Cyril Baille (Toulouse), Demba Bamba (Lyon), Camille Chat (Racing 92), Anthony Etrillard (Toulon), Jean-Baptiste Gros (Toulon), Mohamed Haouas (Montpellier), Julien Marchand (Toulouse), Jefferson Poirot (Bordeaux-Begles), Cyril Cazeaux (Bordeaux-Begles), Killian Geraci (Lyon), Bernard Le Roux (Racing 92), Boris Palu (Racing 92), Romain Taofifenua (Toulon), Paul Willemse (Montpellier), Gregory Alldritt (La Rochelle), Charles Ollivon (Toulon), Dylan Cretin (Lyon), Francois Cros (Toulouse), Alexandre Fischer (Clermont), Sekou Macalou (Stade Francais), Selevasio Tolofua (Toulouse), Cameron Woki (Bordeaux-Begles)
Antoine Dupont (Toulouse), Baptiste Serin (Toulon), Maxime Lucu (Bordeaux-Begles), Romain Ntamack (Toulouse), Louis Carbonel (Toulouse), Mathieu Jalibert (Bordeaux-Begles), Gael Fickou (Stade Francais), Virimi Vakatawa (Racing 92), Arthur Vincent (Montpellier), Julien Heriteau (Toulon), Gervais Cordin (Toulon), Lester Etien (Stade Francais), Gabriel Ngandebe (Montpellier), Damian Penaud (Clermont), Vincent Rattez (La Rochelle), Teddy Thomas (Racing 92), Anthony Bouthier (Montpellier), Kylian Hamdaoui (Stade Francais), Thomas Ramos (Toulouse)