Newly-appointed France coach Guy Noves has cited the need to build a squad capable of challenging for the 2019 World Cup after omitting Toulon centre Mathieu Bastareaud from his 31-man Six Nations party yesterday.
Former Toulouse coach Noves replaced Philippe Saint-Andre in November following France’s 62-13 thrashing against New Zealand in the World Cup quarter-final and has drafted in eight uncapped players.
“We tried to prepare a France group that, for the most part, will go along with us over the next four years,” said Noves. “Mathieu is a talented player. But the true question is whether he can suit our project.”
Wales coach Warren Gatland, meanwhile, has recalled Cardiff Blues wing Tom James six years after he won his last international cap. Scarlets scrum-half Aled Davies is the only uncapped player in Wales’ 37-man squad.
Injuries have ruled out the likes of full-back Leigh Halfpenny, centre Scott Williams and scrum-half Rhys Webb, while backs Liam Williams, Jonathan Davies and Hallam Amos have all returned to squad having previously been sidelined.
Flanker Ryan Wilson, who was cited on Monday for allegedly grabbing an opponent’s testicles, has been left out of Scotland’s squad, which includes uncapped props Zander Ferguson and Rory Sutherland.