PARIS : Number eight Gregory Alldritt will captain France in the Six Nations Championship after taking over from Antoine Dupont, who will miss the tournament to focus on the French Sevens side that competes at the Paris Olympic Games later this year.
Coach Fabien Galthie has named six uncapped players as France enter a new World Cup cycle having had the bitter disappointment of losing to eventual champions South Africa in the quarter-finals on home soil last year.
Centre Nicolas Depoortere, back row Esteban Abadie, locks Matthias Halagahu and Emmanuel Meafou, flyhalf Antoine Gibert and scrumhalf Nolann Le Garrec could all debut in the Six Nations.
Meafou was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, but has been playing for Toulouse since 2019 and trained with France last year, though he has only now become eligible to play for the national team.
Twenty-two of the squad that competed at the World Cup are among the 34 selected, with scrumhalf Dupont not considered as he plays in Sevens World Series events in Vancouver and Los Angeles that overlap with the Six Nations.
Maxime Lucu and Le Garrec are the two specialist number nines in the squad and will vye to start in the absence of Dupont.
Galthie has preferred Alldritt, 26, as captain over fellow back rows Charles Ollivon and Anthony Jelonch, who have both had the armband before and are in the squad.
Alldritt took time off after the World Cup disappointment but returned for his club La Rochelle on Dec. 30.
Galthie has also called on 30-year-old lock Paul Gabrillagues, who won the last of his 16 caps for the national team in 2019.
France open their Six Nations campaign against Ireland in Marseille on Feb. 2.
Forwards: Esteban Abadie, Dorian Aldegheri, Gregory Alldritt, Uini Atonio, Cyril Baille, Gaetan Barlot, Paul Boudehent, Francois Cros, Paul Gabrillagues, Matthias Halagahu, Anthony Jelonch, Thomas Laclayat, Julien Marchand, Peato Mauvaka, Emmanuel Meafou, Charles Ollivon, Romain Taofifenua, Sebastien Taofifenua, Reda Wardi, Cameron Woki
Backs: Louis Bielle-Biarrey, Jonathan Danty, Nicolas Depoortere, Gael Fickou, Emilien Gailleton, Antoine Gibert, Matthieu Jalibert, Melvyn Jaminet, Nolann Le Garrec, Matthis Lebel, Maxime Lucu, Yoram Moefana, Damian Penaud, Thomas Ramos.