South African-born Paul Willemse called up by France for Six Nations

Paul Willemse in action for Montpellier
Paul Willemse in action for Montpellier

South Africa-born Paul Willemse was one of five uncapped players named by Jacques Brunel in the France squad for the two opening matches of the Six Nations on Wednesday.

Ex-Bulls lock Willemse, 26, qualifies for his adoptive country on residency grounds having spent more than three years with Top 14 clubs Montpellier and Grenoble.

The Pretoria native received his citizenship in November after French Rugby Federation president Bernard Laporte said in December 2016 possession of a French passport was a requirement for inclusion in the national team.

Fijian-born winger Alivereti Raka, who also received his French nationality in November, has impressed for more than four years at Clermont but is not included due to a hand injury.

Romain Ntamack has been called up after impressing in the centre for Toulouse Romain Ntamack has been called up after impressing in the centre for Toulouse

The other new faces are Toulouse’s Romain Ntamack, utility back Thomas Ramos and prop Dorian Aldegheri as well as La Rochelle second-row Gregory Alldritt.

Ntamack, a world U20s champion last year, is the son of former international Emile who won 46 caps between 1994 and 2000 for Les Bleus.

Morgan Parra is selected after missing the November internationals Morgan Parra is selected after missing the November internationals

Clermont’s experienced pair of Morgan Parra and Wesley Fofana return to the squad after missing the November Tests series through injuries.

Winger Teddy Thomas, second-row Yoann Maestri and back-rower Mathieu Babillot are also not included due to injuries.

Brunel’s side, which suffered defeats by the Springboks and for the first time Fiji but beat Argentina in November, kick off their 2019 Six Nations campaign at home against Wales on February 1. Les Bleus then take on England at Twickenham on February 10.

France Six Nations squad

Forwards (17): Dorian Aldegheri, Gregory Alldritt, Uini Atonio, Demba Bamba, Pierre Bourgarit, Yacouba Camara, Guilhem Guirado (capt), Arthur Iturria, Felix Lambey, Wenceslas Lauret, Bernard Le Roux, Julien Marchand, Louis Picamoles, Jefferson Poirot, Dany Priso, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Paul Willemse

Backs (14): Mathieu Bastareaud, Anthony Belleau, Geoffrey Doumayrou, Antoine Dupont, Gael Fickou, Wesley Fofana, Yoann Huget, Camille Lopez, Maxime Medard, Romain Ntamack, Morgan Parra, Damian Penaud, Thomas Ramos, Baptiste Serin

Article source: https://www.skysports.com/rugby-union/news/12508/11602920/south-african-born-paul-willemse-called-up-by-france-for-six-nations

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.